Sunday, 20 December 2009

It Happened One Night (1934)

Home for Christmas and already watching at least a film a day, old favourites of course, it's that time of year! Yesterday we watched possibly the best road-movie ever made. One of my all time favourites, Clark Gable is at his absolute peak of gorgeous, this is Frank Capra at his screwball-best, not a bit of sentimentality (which It's a Wonderful Life reeks of) the script is perfect, the comedy performances are perfect.
I can't decide a favourite scene, "Quit Bawlin'!" is a classic but I like it when Clark threatens Shapely in the woods and then spits on himself. The scene where Clark Gable undresses is historic- apparently vest sales plummetted. "Gable don't wear a vest, then I don't wear a vest!"
The only thing I thought was missing was a reconcilliation scene, but in retrospect I think it works perfectly without it because we've seen Clark and Claudette at each other's throats the whole way through, we saw the pauses and the tension, we saw them both in seperate misery without each other... The finishing gag is perfect because even though we don't see them maybe actually seeing the two happy together would not be as dramatic or swoon-worthy as that bit when he's looking at her in the hay and he stops himself from kissing her- sigh!!

Monday, 14 December 2009

The X-Factor 2009

I'd never watched the X-Factor any other year because I don't like seeing members of the public on my tv, I could see members of the public in my damn living room. TV is for handsomes and talented types. Anyway I moved into a household where people watch reality tv and so I joined in to be sociable! (I also watched the final three episodes of I'm a Celebrity Get Me out of Here which I'd never seen either- I'm glad Gino won.)
Apart from the appalling members of the public (the contestants) and the four horrendous "judges" it turns out the X-Factor is sort of what TV is missing... By which I mean we have no Top of the Pops anymore, we have no variety shows where you can see famous singers promoting their new singles- not on the 5 channels I have access to anyway.
The guest acts were nearly always of an extremely high standard, and like I say I never get to see bands doing numbers because British tv doesn't have music programmes anymore. So I got to see Michael Buble, Take That, Robbie Williams, Lady Gaga, Janet Jackson, Paul McCartney, George Michael, Roger and Brian from Queen, Leona Lewis etc. performing great songs live and the only other time I get to appreciate modern pop music is by listening to the radio- which I don't do because most of it is shite! Rap- that's what's on Radio 1, did we have any rapping on the X-factor? No because it's a singing competition and the big names they managed to get were all brilliant singers.
And even though I didn't really think ANY of the contestants had the X-Factor I'm glad Joe McElderry won because he was clearly the best singer from the very beginning even if he wasn't the best all-round-performer.
-Also Joe obviously comes from a family of drunks so it's good that he can now escape that fate as he is a very talented young man.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

La Cage Aux Folles (London's Playhouse Theatre)

It is what it is, and what it is is a sensation!
(Ugh, I wonder how many shite journalists thought of using that line as a review...)
Last night Laura and I went to see La Cage Aux Folles and it was wonderfully fabulous, up in the Gods we had great views of the choreography and we saw mostly everything apart from when that big-headed boy leant over, damn him... Douglas Hodge and Dennis Lawson return for the final weeks in the roles they created for this production, Lawson was good but Hodge as Albin and Zaza was amazing!
Lately the role has been played by Graham Norton and John Barrowman and I really don't think either of them would have been nearly as good as Douglas Hodge, I can't imagine Barrowman playing the part with such pathos, he can sing the songs but Hodge's Albin broke our hearts!! I'm glad we got to see his Olivier Award Winning performance, he was wonderful and he could really sing too!! So Could Lawson! There's a turn up for the books!
The dance numbers were great, costumes brilliantly gay, the songs were lovely and the comedy excellent, once again thanks to Hodge (and Syrus Lowe as the couple's ott butler/maid). And I liked the theatre, it felt like a sleazy 1970s drag club, it took me and Laura hours to wind our way to the tiny upstairs bar where four gay men sat and discussed other musicals they might see next, I'm told they settled on The Lion King.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Vertigo (1958)

Ah, Jimmy Stewart, well, he was just more convincing as a love interest when he was young and in black and white, wasn't he? But when the film turns sour he is utterly convincing as a creepy, obsessive stalker!
Another gem from Hitchcock. I loved it! You think it's slow and obvious, but it's not!! And you need that slow start for the rest of it to really heat up! After those first 70 minutes when it really starts I was gripped! And after another half hour I was on the edge of my seat! Oh my god! I thought I knew what was going to happen at the end! But I didn't!!
Phew! What a film!