Saturday, 27 February 2010

The Lovely Bones (2010)

When I moved into student halls a good while back I met my good friend Shona for the first time, she was obviously a big reader, but on closer inspection though there were a lot of books in her room, a lot of it was shite! Sort of like when people see that I'm into films but when they get up close to my film collection they notice it's full of crap that you've never heard of and would never want to see! The book Shona was reading when we met was The Lovely Bones.
So we went to see the film and I was horrified at most of it and had a lot of problems with the story but Shona was crying her eyes out, apparently it was pretty faithful to the book!
Here's the Brownie points: Mark Wahlberg was a brilliantly convincing dad, I know that my dad would definitely be out there with a baseball bat dealing out justice for my murder. Susan Sarandon gave a good comic turn but it felt extremely uncomfortable to watch considering the rest of the film. Stan Tucci was terrifying, that was a really nice bit of creepy character acting *shudder!* but my first comment after the film was: "As if a paedophile would have such gorgeous eyes!"
Problems: The film was far too long (I was starving), the lead girl has Martin Short's face and the writer's idea of Heaven was utterly horrendous and sick-making... So "Heaven" was where you could hang out with all the other little girls who got raped and murdered by Stan for all eternity! Wow, sounds great! Glad I'll never be able to forget what happened to me!!
Not my cup of tea!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Murder in Samarkand by David Hare (Saturday Play Radio 4)

Dramatization of former Uzbekistan ambassador Craig Murray's memoirs.
Good stuff, depressing of course but no-nonsense and the occasional nervous giggle. Not the sort of thing to listen to while drawing children having a jolly time at the cinema, I had pen paused over paper for the full hour and a half unable to draw while listening to this play.
And I'm glad I did listen to it, it was a gripping piece and Tennant is good at proper acting, a nice performance of a passionate but flawed man, glad he's back on the radio.
I hope those at Dundee University now (I attended 2004-2007) understand how good they have it with a heroic human-rights activist as a Rector rather than Lorraine Kelly.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Measure for Measure (The Almeida)

Though it is Duke Vincentio's play (handsome Ben Miles) it is Rory Kinnear's Angelo who is in a different play all together. Rory is the reason I go to the theatre. He wasn't in it enough, but the scenes he had were amazing; funny, creepy, intense, he's the reason Shakespeare wrote all those goddamn plays!
I have seen Rory Kinnear- the most versatile and talented actor on the English Stage- in five separate plays; I have seen him play the most excellent fool in The Man of Mode, I have seen him play the self-pitying wastrel son in The Philistines, I have seen him play the intense, disturbed and heart-broken anti-hero in The Revengers Tragedies, I have seen him play the piano and the trumpet in Burnt by the Sun and now I have seen him play sexually repressed creep. I am so turned on by talent. Rory is so hot!
I haven't been to the Almeida since 2004! I barely remembered it, me and Anna got great seats up in the circle and they were really cheap too, fifteen quid each, not bad for our yearly Rory-fix. This production was both funny and because of La AMM extremely serious! The supporting cast were great and got all the laughs, the set was not very innovative but I'm glad as it didn't detract from the words- that's what's important here, it's flipping Shakespeare!
But there's not enough Rory in this play, there's a lot of Ben Miles and a lot of Anna Maxwell Martin being so serious in this comedy that there are no laughs when she's on stage. The whole tone of the ending was changed simply because she was so straight, it was good though, realistic. There probably shouldn't be a silly happy ending after a play that's essentially about rape!
"And by the way Isabella while disguised as a priest I fell in love with you too! Let's get married!" STONY SILENCE Isabella gives a withering look, like fuck I'm going to marry you after all this shit! The Duke stands up awkwardly and changes the subject: "So... Let's all go back to the palace for a knees up!"

Twelfth Night (The Marlowe Society, Cambridge)

Anna visited for 24 hours and we fit in a Shakespeare Double Bill. We started with The Marlowe Society's production of Twelfth Night, a play that we both knew well from the 1996 movie starring Imogen Stubbs, but had never seen on stage. The Marlowe is the sort of acting-only version of the Cambridge Footlights, the guys on stage were all studying Oriental Sciences and whatnot, ie this was student theatre. But this was big-budget, amazing set, proper acting students. They were bloody good. Well, they were a bit blah to begin with as always with Shakespeare once you were into it it seemed to get better and better.
The concept was a little creepy though, they seemed to have taken the madness theme and decided to set it all in a flood-damaged sanitarium of some sort and because of this creepiness the whole tone of the ending changed and though it was funny throughout the ending was NOT funny, it was very unnerving. Bit it was still a comedy at heart, the bit that got the biggest laugh was when Orsino still could not tell the twins apart and professed love for Sebastian at the end. The visual gags and the staging was excellent AND the songs and dance were really good!
Josh Higgott as Sir Toby Belch, Patrick Walshe-McBride as Sir Andrew Aguecheek and Oliver Soden as Malvolio performed excellent characters, Sebastian (Jack Monaghan) was also cute. I mention these student-actors because this company has a tendency to churn out future-fames, let's see if they make it.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

The Importance of Being Earnest (1952)

I can't resist it... Whenever it's on I must watch.
And though Oscar Wilde had some pretty iffy ideas about what idiots women are I still find his best loved play warm and witty when played by this wonderful group of actors. There was never any point in making that 2002 version with creepy Colin Firth and crawly Rupert Everett. Ah, perfection, Redgrave and Denison! Such charming charmers! -and I challenge you to deny that Denison is not Richard E. Grant's real father. They look, act and sound exactly alike!
I also love the insanely colourful technicolour! The costumes and everything, it's so bright! Fits the mad script perfectly.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

The Misanthrope aka The Keira Knightley play (Comedy Theatre)

Keira has got a big head. Yeah she's got a small body but she has a big head too and that just emphasizes it more so! It's only when you see her head next to someone you know to have a massive head that you realize just how big it is. Next to Nick le Prevost, a thin man with a big head, Keira's head looked bigger. It was quite scary!
So enough about the diminutive starlet's stature. On with the play. I thought the actors all did really well with the parts they had been given, none of them very good parts let's face it, every single actor except Damien Lewis and Keira had hardly any time on stage but all tried extremely hard to make themselves noticed and of course it was the supporting cast who got all the laughs. They all did brilliantly but were not in it enough, however Tim McMullan did the best with his role and I have to say he was definitely noticed.
Yeah, that's Moliere for you, not new adaptations, just Moliere, that main part would have been for Louis IVX hence all the little cameos for whoever else was allowed to act along side the King. Damien Lewis didn't quite cut it for me, something lacking there, he wasn't tres believable. Keira did adequately but my favourite bit was when the sixth form group in front of me started texting each other as soon as La Knightley was not on stage.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Children's Films; Coraline(2009), Penelope(2006), Prince Charming(2001)

Well, you can gladly forget anything nice I said about Martin Short a couple of weeks ago, Prince Charming was diabolically bad. A horribly weak version of Les Visiteurs with terrible cgi and a waste of Bernadette Peters and Billy Connolly.
So I joined the library and rented three films last week- children's films of course.
We in the house of Children's Illustration had been told by our friends that Coraline was worth a watch, Linn insisted it was traditional animation (it was actually a combination of cgi and stop-motion) and Lauren insisted you had to see it drunk and in 3D... It was a really trippy film that started off too quickly and then went on and on and on. We were all sober and had no idea what was happening. But it looked pretty and the casting of Teri Hatcher's voice as a disgusting bony old witch was spot on.
Penelope could have been much better than it was but it also suffered from a rushed, confused beginning and far too many sexual innuendos (in your end-o) for a children's flick- though not as many as Prince Charming which was frankly GROSS. The cast was good and everyone did well with their American accents (to accommodate three actual Americans in an all British ensemble). Lots of underused actors (including the romantic lead James MacAvoy!) Russell Brand appeared for no reason and didn't even get any jokes so you can't blame him for the innuendos. It was funny however to see Nigel Havers a self proclaimed Letter Box Actor turn up as someone's dad; brilliant over-acting, just what you need in a kids' film- So in this sense of course Richard E. Grant as Penelope's dad was also brill.