A show about three people banished to the basement of an office building for a random company, two are IT 'nerds' and one is a clueless 'manager' all created by Graham Linehan, writer of the almighty Father Ted. This sitcom, spanning 4 series and enjoying cult status, it launched the careers of Chris O'Dowd and Catherine Parkinson as well as elevating Richard Ayoade's. Luckily a US version was avoided twice I believe and hopefully won't be attempted again. Its a superb hilarious show with classic moments, its fine the way it is.
Parks and Recreation
Love this show so much I rewatch it all the time. A fantastic cast of characters from the department of the same name in local government, exploring the many lows of working in governement as well as the hilarious highs of being part of Team Knope! I miss this show so much.
This is my favourite show of all time (well this Spaced and Green Wing) is a show I hold dear to my heart and have done since 2007. An appreciation post will be released upon the world in due course. Tina Fey created a show like no other with a cast or amazing stereotypes that didn't matter that they were really stereotypes. Poking fun at current events and everything from politics to fast foods (cheesyblasters) featurig the finest cast including Jimmy Moop and Tracky Jon-jon! True fans will get that weird reference.
Another old favourite of mine, I used to get so excited to see an episode of the show. I'm not 'into' fashion but I loved the passion Betty had, plus everyone was so over the top and dramatic. Betty, recent graduate starts working as a PA for the editor of one of the biggest fashion magazines in the world. Out of her depth she struggles through nasty treatment from co-workers sneering at her appearence but Betty is wonderful and talented, bouncing back each time. It is one of the mant adaptations around the world, its bizarre! The storylines for some characters were slightly bungled at times but no matter over all it was brilliant. A perfect open ending in London was the icing on top of the cake too. There are hopes of seeing a film but it all seems rumours.
Underated show in my opinion. A mixture of hard core Sorkin with a dash of melodrama, especially in Season 2. I still need to watch Season 3 but I like the characters and what better place than the newsroom to find great stories as well as deal with personal ones.
The last film I saw that was part of the London Film Festival. What with work, short holiday and the course, things have slipped behind. But couldn't let this film go without a mention. Full review is over at VultureHound and can be read HERE.
I missed last week's theme and I had some picks I'd like to share so this week its double whammy!
Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov
I have Déjà vu about this theme as I recall picking this book as something I'd like to see on the big screen or small screen even...strange. Anyway, a story about a struggling writer who has a depressed pet penguin and is hired to write obituaries of famous people who mysteriously start dying is an odd, sometimes unnerving but delightful. Its a murder mystery ganger spy friendship drama that takes place in Ukraine post-Soviet society. I think this would make a great film or TV series as there is a sequel.
Fables by Bill Willingham / Mark Buckingham
One of the best things I have ever read, the Fables universe could rival Marvel and DC put together its so intricate. Spanning the old world and the new populated with fairytale, folklore and sometimes characters from literature from all over the world, the possibilities are literally endless. The first book or collection of issues focuses on a community in exile, hiding in plain sight in New York city having been driven from their Homelands. As this is such a intricate universe that has spawned 22 collected volumes, three spin offs, 4 stand alone graphic novels, a video game, a novel and an art book as well as its own encyclopedia, this comic would be best suited to a TV series as there is way too much to include in a movie or too and anyway, a movie would not do it justice. I know way back when the powers that be wanted to make a TV show with ABC then there were rumours not long ago about a film. I hope the film is scrapped and TV back on the table, especially with all the success of other comic to TV adaptations.
Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
My wish is coming true for this one. Last time I checked the project was in development hell but Peter Jackson saves the day! Principle photography has already begun on the film so hopefully next year I'll be writing about it rather than dreaming. I read this in two days (not the sequels) I was hooked. Set in a barren wasteland, aka Earth, years after 'the 60 minute war' where North America was pratically destroyed, technology hasn't been able to evolve. Cities are mobile, built with engines to roam the land devouring smaller cities. Set in London, a conspiracy is uncovered after one of the leaders is almost assassinated. The story definitely has cinematic scope and would be marvelous on the big screen. Decent looking cast and Jackson at the helm I have faith it will be worth watching.
I don't like the term 'strong female character' as I find it diminshes female characters. I've gone rogue and picked a bunch of characters I believe are well written, excellently performed and all round are inspiring.
Everyone has gone crazy for these cute little creatures that look like a penguin, puffin, seal and owl all mushed into one. The Funko Pops are out, the toys are out and pop culture pins are out! There is no stopping them. I'm just hoping that just because they are adorable doesn't meant they get their own animated spin off series or holiday special. Otherwise BB8 would have its own Netflix show by now. Porg distraction over for the moment and lets get down to Star Wars talk.
So I know I said in another post sometimes the best films are the ones you don't expect to like, well in this case I love Star Wars so I think I'm going to love in some way no matter what. But I think it works that the films you love or expect to love are really hard to dislike if you've hyped it up so much in your mind. And the internet has done the same. Does that make sense?
This post was supposed to go out when the new trailer for The Last Jedi was released upon us all but, time makes fools of us all. Like everywhere else, I wanted to break down the trailer piece by piece but when that's done, you loose the excitement. The same way a novel looses its meaning when you analyse it too much. The clues I think we were all looking for were about Luke, the resistance and what the deal with Reylo is. We got a bit of everything but in some ways, I get the feeling the only clue we all really got was Luke saying 'this isn't going to go the way you think'. In fact, cast members were also saying this too. Opening up to theories galore, I read a few and most seem tame enough for me to handle but I'm still disturbed and really angry at something I read months ago about the plot. Don't worry I'll keep my mouth shut. All I'll say is it better not go that way as it was a terrible idea. THE END.
Moving on to happier thoughts, as a keen Reylo shipper, yes its out there, I think its safe to say now especially as Dame Judy Dench herself asked about it, I'd also like to know what the deal is. I thought it was just an internet thing BUT no, it goes way beyond fan art and tumblr accounts of specualtion. They are afterall the balance, light and the dark, at least, that's my theory anyway. But that massive teaser at the end of the trailer, Reylo with the light from the fire on one side and the next shot of Kylo Ren holding out his hand, they are obviously two different scenes. Lighting does not match. This may just be a tease though, to shut down the shippers.
My other concern is sadly not for the original rebel herself, Leia, as we can all guess how this goes, but it is for our buddy 'big deal' Finn. He's in First Order uniform, undercover presumably then he's scene fighting Phasma, but I feel a disturbance in the force. My thinking is betrayal is on the cards, maybe not Finn, maybe another key player.
There is also lack of reveal of new characters entering the fold. No sign of Rose, resistance member or Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro's characters either. More familiar to bring people back and then hit them with the fantastic!
Gad dammit! Why is everyone wearing red cloaks? Is anyone thinking back to The Village where the cloaks worn by the people are yellow, the good colour and the cloaks worn by the 'beasts' are red, aka the BAD colour? Might just be me. The red is not a good sign in my eyes, its some kind of oman. The new postsers seem odd to me, as if there are all conforming, dressed in same colour. It also reminds me of the Mockingjay outfit from Part 2, Katniss Everdeen is wearing red and we all know how that turned out (if you haven't seen all the Hunger Games films or read the books, just ignore this last thought).
With a little over a month to go before its release, I have been squealing with excitement everytime the trailer plays before a film at the cinema. My excitement cannot be contained. As I did with The Force Awakens, I will hold off my reviews until after a suitable time and so that I can see it again.
I'll leave you with this thought but the resident grump of Skellig Michael.
It's been a bit quiet on the 'Around the World' challenge, but slowly slowly I'm picking up again.
This was a festival pick I just didn't have time to see when booking tickets and wasn't at a great time during press screenings, so I was lucky enough to cover it for its cinema release. My full review of this supernatural awakening story is on VultureHound HERE.
Since September I have been taking part in a course, Screen/Play, for film programmers. So far we've had the opportunity to meet film programmers, festival creators, innovators across the board of film just to name a few, freelancers working on the commercial side, Curzon Cinemas, London Film Festival, Bechdel Test Fest, Flat Pack Festival with presentations about how to programme, what to programme, who the audience is and how to apply for funding. We've also been looking at the theory as well as practical side of programming as well taking on two major tasks. One is a personl project (more on that another day) the other is a group project.
As a group, working with Deptford Cinema, we have created a season based around films from a child's perspective but aren't children's films. Our season is 'Child's Eye View' and we will be screening 4 films over 4 nights at Deptford Cinema 16th-19th November.
My team is screening the almost 10 years old movie modern classic 'Son of Rambow'. What's not to love about two kids, outcasts for different reasons who decide to make a movie together? Set in 80s, Will, part of a religious family, who's Dad has recently died, isn't allowed to watch TV of any sort, due to religious reasons, meets literally misunderstood troublemaker Lee. Making friends and bonding over the only film Will has seen, First Blood. They decide to make a film together inspired by what they see, but when then new 'cool' French exchange student hears of the film, friendships are challenged and their film they bonded over is in danger of never being completed.
Starring a young Will Poulter and Bill Milner is their first lead roles, you can see the beginning of a couple of great actors in the making.
If you're in London come along to see some 80s nostalgia and a few laughs. We'll be screening a short film before the feature and we'll be hosting an 80s themed quiz after, with chances to win some great prizes.
At first I thought of this film as an unwanted nostalgia trip in the 80s which never seems to end (when is the 90s nostalgia trip going to start?) but after seeing more of the trailers, it seemed like a familiar world with new stories to tell. With the stark landscape and scarce amount of characters, it felt like the original but from a new perspective. With two previous phenomenal movies (Sicario, Arrival) under his belt, director Denis Villeneuve has an eye for visual beauty as well as dramatic intense bulid up, be it a feeling of danger or something profound, he knows how to steer his story. 30 years after Deckard and replicant Rachel met and fell in love, times have changed. New replicants have been made, advanced, more human like than ever. Agent K (Ryan Gosling) is a replicant, working for the 'police' finding and disposing of retired replicants, but when a a beyond amazing discovery is found, the police, the new Tyrell on the block, weird inventor Wallace, want this new information buried and all evidence with it. But curiosity gets the better of K who goes looking for his own answers to a conspiracy that could change everything. I loved this slow paced mystery science fiction story. The protests after I saw it about how female characters are treated in this film is rather obvious and hard to miss but within the story, it doesn't matter so much at least not to me. I just wanted to enojoy the amazing film in front of me. 4/5
All I Wanna Do
This sometimes silly story from the late 90s starring all your favourite 2000's actresses about a group of girls at prestigious boarding school for girls set in the 60s scratches the surface of bigger issues and wishes to dig deeper than it does. I rather enjoyed their weird insults and clapped with glee at some of the girls' ambitions as well as their group name, D.A.R. (Daughters of the American Ravioli). The recommendation came from my favourite zine of all time 'Filmme Fatales' and they always know where to steer me. 3/5
I was sceptical at first because I felt precious about Taika Waititi (director of my favourite film last year) and worried that he was too good for the big bad blockbuster BUT he proved me wrong magnificently. The film is almost laugh a minute after from two rather emotional moments (Odin saying goodbye and near the end) but even these had comedy injected into them. With a host of new characters, new revelations, new effects, new arcs we probably didn't need, the film packs a massive techni-coloured punch of engery into the Marvel universe. As Guardians of the Galaxy had some more emotional issues to deal with the laughs were left up to Thor and the new gang and oh my it paid off. With Thor (newly broken up from Jane (remember her?)) he has been having visisons of Ragnarok and goes on a quest to stop it. On his way he exposes his brother Loki pretending to be Odin, crash lands on a planet run by The Gamesmaster (an excellent Jeff Goldblum). He meets fellow Asguardian, the tough former Valkyrie warrior (an excellent Tessa Thompson) and gets to fight an old friend from work. Not only that, but he gets to find out about his deadly deranged sister, Hela, Goddess of Death. Its a whirlwind of a film that pokes fun at itself and more the better for it. Its about damn time this happened. 4/5
Murder on the Orient Express
Lets get this straight, Kenneth Branagh is NOT Hercule Poirot, he will never be able to out Poirot David Suchet. That aside, he is a good director. The story is not so simple murder mystery. A murder on a train in the middle of the night, 12 passengers, all suspects, only Poirot can save the day. The film has been accused of being the Branagh show and it is. He manages to insert himself everywhere, exaggerating Poirot's characteristics and spouting word-y speeches that doesn't suit the moment or the actual character. He plays him very theatrically, which is shame as everyone else is brilliant even in the smallest of ways. The passengers on the train are given their time to shine in several ways, mostly during questioning, showing vulnerability as well as cold hearted exteriors. The story, is actually rather tragic, with the murder connected to another story about a family's destruction torn apart, affecting more people than is considered. It is an overwhelming revelation no matter if you know the story well (loved the TV episode, much dark than this adaptation) or if you are brand new to it. Poirot, known to keep his emotions in check and quite reserved cannot comprehend at first but this is what saves the film from becoming just like any other murder mystery. This is a famous story for a reason and worth the pain of Branagh looking at himself in the mirror several times. 3/5
The Death of Stalin
In all honesty, I never watched much of 'The Thick of It' and I only saw some of 'In the Loop'. Political orientated shows sometimes go over my head in that I get bored. But what I did see was funny. It was the cast and hilarious trailer that made me want to watch the latest from Armando Iannucci more than anything. Big fan of Steve Buscemi so couldn't say no to it. Whilst there were a great amount of dark comedy jokes happening, I found at times I couldn't laugh, mostly at insinuations about women and jokes at women's expense or at the sheer horror of the situation. Apart from these scenes, I could see the ridiculous side of things and enjoyed the film for the slapstick, insults and the fact everyone has theie own or exaggerated accent. 3/5
Throughout the festival I decided to concentrate on just what I was seeing there BUT something made me pick up Whale Rider one evening (only evening I didn't have a film). Not sure if it had anything to do with missing swimming and watching this story set by the sea made up for it or not.
Director and writer Niki Caro, set to direct the live adaptation of 'Mulan' adapted Whale Rider from the book of the same name by Witi Ihimaera about a young girl defying tradition as she tries to take her place in her tribe. Her Grandfather of her tribe believes that the true leader would be his first born grandson from his eldest son. But Paikea is born instead as her mother dies in child birth and her twon brother soon follows. Her father names her after their ancestor who was known as 'the Whale Rider' but her Grandfather dismisses her as a potential leader just because she is a girl. Even though Paikea proves herself time and time again, her Grandfather won't listen.
Begining with such tragic event, set ups the tone of the film as being about grief and hope. Koro, leader of the tribe and Paikea's Grandfather, he is blinded by tradition and belief that won't allow him to see and appreciatw what is in front of him. Small mindedness is what cripples the tribe as things becomes harder for everyone in the commnity. The whales beaching themselves near the end is the ultimate sign where Koro blames Paikea for the unrest, when really it is stubborn ways that hold the future back. Paikea is string willed and believes that she is the leader, going so far as to almost drown to prove she is worthy. This seems like a familiar story as it as been told in many ways by many people, where girls or women have to prove they are worthy of their destiny or title or talents. What's different about Whale Rider is that the story is told by a young girls from a very specific place in a country those film industry is not wide reaching. A Maori girl in a small community, who believes she can help everyone by becoming who she was meant to be, is both unique and universal.
Saving the best til last. Well one of the best. From a director who know how to keep the audience on the edge as well as strangely at ease, Lynne Ramsay adapts Jonathan Ames novel, with an amazing perfomance from the one and only Joaquin Phoenix. My full review from the festival is up on VultureHound which can be read HERE.
I was super obsessed with this mini horror series when it first aired. No one was watching it at uni and I leant the DVD to a friend but alas, it never made its way back to me. But I really loved it for some odd reason, I even had a pin badge with 'Don't kill Jimmy' on it, reference to the show. This was my gateway horror so that I could later watch all first three seasons of AHS back to back over a week (I was so messed up after that). It was a mediocre story about a woman, Abby, who returns to her home town, Harper's Island. Her mother was murdered by a serial killer years previously, even with the killer thought to be dead, she feels uneasy. She is there to attend the wedding of her best friend Henry to an heiress, Trish. She reunites with old friends, her Dad and her old boyfriend (Jimmy) but there also happens to be a serial killer on the island taking out the guests one by one. A special torment for the series was that each episode is named after the side effect of how the latest victim is killed. Grim but still so good to watch. I think I liked it more because there is an actual end, no sequel here.
I would pick a season but there are so many deliciously horrific ones to choose from. My theory, well, more my opinion is that all the odd numbered seasons are the better ones, mostly because season 4 & 6 weren't very popular. Murder House and Coven are my favourites. I never bothered with Roanoke past a few episodes, I just couldn't watch it. I'm struggling with Cult so far as I have a problem with clowns and can only watch the show comfortably during the day, so I'm super behind. I like the theory of the nine circles of hell, each season fitting into an over all specific hell. Pondering what the next two seasons could bring...whatever they are, it'll be terrifying (to me).
Does anyone remember when Big Brother was a reality TV game show? Now its just a joke and a husk of what it was back in the first series. Well at the height of the show's popularity, this zombie horror drama was made and its actually not that bad. On eviction night, the crowds outside the house are gathering, the housemates are all celebrating and the crew behind the scenes are just going through the motions. In the midst of a zombie outbreak, the housemates, unknown to them are left without a clue of what happening, that is until the TV crew break in to escape the horrors outside. I remember seeing bits of this way back when, so my memory is hazy, but I remember everyone did praise it at the time.
One of the first films I saw at the festival this year with an amusing Q&A with director John Cameron Mitchell who called Neil Gaiman to let him know just how much the audience loved it. The full review is on VultureHound for your redaing pleasure.
Sometimes the best films are the ones you don't expect to like or enjoy as much as you end up doing. I think I annoyed everyone with my gushing praise for Luca Guadagnino's latest film.
Adapted from the novel of the same name byAndré Aciman, the story takes place in the 80s over 6 weeks in the summer in Italy. Seventeen year old Elio spends his long summer days reading books, transcribing music, swimming in the river and waitin for summer to end. His father, a professor and mother invite a grad student each year to stay with them in their picturesque villa. Oliver, early twentives, radiates confidence arrives and captures Elio's attention. Over the summer together, they develop a passionate bond, exploring ther desire for one another but the summer has to end eventually.
Having seen Guadagnino's previous film, A Bigger Splash, which was a simmering tale of lust between four people in the heat of Italian summer, I thought Call Me By Your Name would be similar but more innocent. Where the former became a strange tale and uncomfortable atmosphere, despite a great cast, the story was good not amazing. Where as the latter finds something playful in and exciting in the smallest of gestures and expressions. Both films have a sense of 'waiting' set against a beautiful background and lets face it, attractive cast. But Call Me By Your Name is a story about a different sort of desire. At first it seems that Elio and Oliver don't get along but they are each curious by one another and subtly try to show the other, until Elio's impatience and eagerness to share his feelings break the barrier. Oliver tries to be more reserved despite, technically, making the first move. He says 'they've been good' meaning they haven't given into their desires yet and there is still time to hold back and pretend nothing happened. How they each deal with their feelings shows their ages, Elio, young and impulsive and Oliver slightly older but wary about what others will think. The heartbreaking scene at the end when Elio and his parents are back at their villa for Christmas and Oliver calls, knowing that they still feel the same way but Oliver due to obligation and most likely his father, can't stay true to himself, leading to Elio breaking down into tears as the credits roll. But hope is not lost, Elio is still young and has time to be who he wants to be and there is little but some hope in that. Another glimmer of hope is in the thoughtful poetic speech Elio's father (played by Michael Stuhlbarg) says near the end as he comfort's his son. Its a speech that you'll hear about and its something you have to hear for yourself to grasp the intensity of Elio and Oliver's bond. The two leads, Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet, are beyond brilliant. The chemistry between is everything; beautiful, heartbreaking, lustful, innocent, everything the film explores. Special kudos to Chalamet who can speak French and learnt Italian as well as how to play the piano for the shoot. There was something so perfect about Hammer and Chalamet that, if you stripped the film back, its a simple story about love, without saying the word. I feel like Call Me By Your Name is a film that needs a second watch, which I hope to when it goes in general release this month. A brilliant, heartfelt story with great cast wrapped in a place with an amazing view.
This is a bit of a cheat one as I haven't seen it but had tried to when it was released. This film actually caused people to throw up in the screenings notoriously. I class it as 'body horror' as it is vile what is happening to her. Justine, a vegatarian, starts at a veterinary school. During a hazing ritual, she is forced to eat a raw rabbit kidney by her sister who also attends the school. From then on she is disturbed and craves the smell and taste of meat, any meat. I do still want to watch this one and hopefully will get to.
I remember seeing this at the PCC (Prince Charles Cinema) on a afternoon off and then regretting my film choice the minute I sat down, not just because I was worried about the subject of the film, but there was no one else in the room and I was slightly freaked out. Leaning to sci-fi, the story follows Syd, an employee at a clinic which extracts illnesses from celebrities and injects them into 'clients' so they can feel closer to their idols. The employee also sells viruses on the black market by injecting them into himself. When one of the most popular celebrities falls ill, Syd goes to extract a blood sample and again, injects himself only to find out that the celebrity has died. He navigates the strange underworld of growing cells of famous people and negotiates with rivals clinics before he suffers the same fate. Its disgusting to be honest, but its also fascinating. Commenting on celebrity failure and poison of today and all that.
The Skin I Live In
I love Pedro Almodovar and I was super excited to see this film as was my sister BUT after the film we were both agreed it was a hell of a difficult watch. I ended wanting to see this film again but even a second time it was too much. Almodovar described the film as "a horror story without screams or frights" which is exactly what it is. Its about a plastic surgeon who has created an artificial skin resistant to burns and insect bites but he looses funding because he is already testing it on humans. He keeps a mysterious woman captive in his home and as the film slowly unfolds with flashbacks to six years previous, the hideous truth comes out about who the woman is and why she's there. Any one who has seen this will get this.