January 25, 2012
Mark Kermode is a a film critic with a weekly film show with Simon Mayo on radio Five Live. He also wrote “It’s Only a Movie: Reel Life Adventures of a Film Obsessive”. I find Kermode’s film reviews not only informative but above all entertaining. I don’t always agree with his opinion on films, but I do think he is spot on about cinema.
In this book “The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex” Mark expounds his views on topics such as:
- going to the Pictures
- why blockbusters should be better
- the inevitable decline of 3-D
- what are film critics for?
- …and so on
I totally and completely agree with what Mark says about the decline of the experience of going to the cinema, which has turned into an over priced adventure in queuing for massive amounts of crap food, where few poor staff will not look after your needs while there happens to be a film more or less visible and audible rather than a ‘performance’ where the entertainment of the paying public was important rather than squeezing as much money out of them as fast as possible. Sorry, it seems that reading Kermode increases your likelihood to rant.
I enjoyed this book very much, but I do think it is the sort of book that you will enjoy if you already like Mark Kermode, if you don’t or don’t agree with his viewpoints it might just be a very frustrating read. I did find the excerpt below which seems to be the first chapter from the audio book, which might help decide if you want to read it…. Even just listening to this first chapter is fun:
by the way, I don’t know how legitimate this video is so it might disappear.
Oh, and Hello to Jason Isaacs!
January 20, 2012
The Artist is the most talked about movie of the moment and I’m really pleased my lovely wife treated me to a trip to the cinema to see this at The Grosvenor (we even sprung for one of the couches which really are much more comfy than even the well spaced seats in that cinema). The first thing anyone says about The Artist is that it is a silent movie filmed in black and white, which it has to be said is unusual.
However, was this going to simply be a gimmick or would there be a genuine movie worth watching no matter what format it is presented in. Yes, it is a really good movie – a good story, visually captivating, engaging, well acted, funny and with high drama cliff hanging ending(s).
The story opens in 1927 with silent movie star George Valentin at the height of his career, he bumps into an unknown extra Peppy Miller and has a small scene with her. When Valentin is shown the new development of sound he laughs it of making it clear that he will not be talking in a movie (his reasons are never actually explained until … [can't say - spoilers]). Soon, the studio moves to ‘all talkies’ with Peppy Miller the new rising starlet and Valentin out on his own.
What follows would indeed be too much of a spoiler, enough to say that while one is on the up the other is spiraling down and how can it possibly be resolved?
Of course this movie can’t be reviewed without talking about it being silent or rather talking about the use of sound. [BTW this might be spoilers too, so if you are going to see it don't read on] Most of the film uses a musical score frequently used as it would have been with a silent film, occasionally a song, but twice we are given sound that matches the visuals. The first time [really this is a spoiler don't read unless you have seen it already] …. is a dream sequence where Foley sound is used but Valentin has no voice. I thought this was fascinating as it sort of gently reminded you of the ‘normalcy’ of sound that as a viewer we had started to get used to not being there. The scene isn’t too far into the movie so you are just setteling into the medium when suddenly there is audio that matches the action, which of course is ‘normal’ from real life and every other film you have ever seen, but in this context in this film it is out of place and therefore emphacises the lack of sound even more!
In summary, a really good movie, which should be seen in a cinema as really it will not be the same when viewed at home. Also, there’s a really nice dog!
January 15, 2012
I hadn’t heard much about The Adjustment Bureau when it came out, but picked up the DVD for around £5 so gave it a go. It is a story of a politician who meets a ballerina by ‘chance‘. This one meeting inspires him to make a speech that changes the course of his political career, or at least will in the long run. That was the plan. However, three years later he ‘accidentally‘ bumps into her again. They fall in love, but that’s not in the plan.
This is when we meet The Adjustment Bureau, who put small changes and alterations in our lives to make sure things don’t deviate from ‘the plan‘, which is written by ‘the chairman’. So a spilled coffee, missed bus, etc. can alter the course of your life. Which raises the question of who is the chairman, does this refer to God, are the Burea angels, do these adjustments remove ‘free will‘. It is in fact a story of the spiritual search for ultimate meaning, and course for your life.
Do we choose our own path through life or are we predestined to a set path from which no alteration can be made. What if we do make that step off the path, can it be corrected and put right again?
We both enjoyed this movie very much, it was thought provoking, exciting and engaging. Another good sign is that at the end I thought it had been a good action adventure with a bit of a love story and D turned and said “that was a chick flick” – so everyone wins :-)
[the DVD prefix is a new idea for blogging since I'm going to the cinema less but still like to remember my reviews of movies, I don't plan to write up every movie I watch at home as that would simply take too long, but we shall see.]
January 1, 2012
That time of year again to have a look over what I’ve blogged about and review what the year has been like ( see 2010, and 2009)
GIGS, EVENTS & THEATER…
MOVIES watched at the cinema…
RESTAURANTS, blogged about…
BOOKS read this year….
Feb: honeymoon in Barbados
July: we did a wee tour of England, visiting relatives in Coventry then having a few days in Yorkshire and the Lakes.
August: CLANkidz not always seen as a holiday, but still it isn’t ‘work’ and it is in St Andrews so I think it counts
Feb: I got Married, D’ moved into my small flat and we began our married life of bliss. The reality is that it is difficult to find a balance in everything when married, it hasn’t been easy but it has been a lot of fun.
Also, in Feb, as mentioned we went to Barbados and I found a new interest – Rum!
Oct: Put my flat in Woodlands on the market and it sold within three weeks
Nov: After looking at a lot of places we bought a house in Scotstoun
Dec: Moved into the new house, filled it up with clutter immediately, then had Christmas parties. What a good month!