Saturday, 26 June 2010

Micmacs a tire-larigot (2009)

And now by comparison a brilliant and beautifully designed French film!
Now here was a nice surprise from the library. A French revenge comedy that featured an ensemble of homeless circus-freak-types (strong man, contortionist, human, cannonball, etc.) and yet it was not in the least bit grotesque, as sometimes these things can be- I found the freaks in The Vampire's Assistant(2009), a shit American kids film, too much - no this film knew what it was from the beginning, it was a bit of light relief. It was sensitive and sweet and most importantly it was very French; heavy on the traditional slapstick and mime, wonderful assortment of character actors, surreal plot and fabulous design in costumes and mad machines- think Wallace and Gromit but it's real!
Very obviously from the director of Amélie(2001), so if you loved that but you're sick of seeing it now, try this one, it's got one up on Amélie for me, it had a political message: satire on the world's arms trade!

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Tim Burton's Alice may have looked amazing in 3D on a big screen, but this 3D gimmick is still in it's infancy, the impressive graphics were lost in translation on my normal HD tv and the whole thing just looked like a horrible video-game. In fact, the whole thing seemed like an advertisement for one big boring Disney game.
The thing about Alice in Wonderland is that it is a series of nonsense poems and sketches, to try and give the characters backgrounds and plot-lines is utterly pointless, it annoys purists and it ruins classic characters. This "sequel" was pointless, the idea that Alice went back to reality again was utterly unbelievable, she had nothing waiting for her and when she got back she did nothing to better herself other than a short embarrassing dance.
Either stay with Johnny Depp and all the other mad characters who quite frankly were not in the least bit mad- just annoying. Or got back to reality kill Gerry James and mary Tim Pigott-Smith, that's what I would have done.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Cold Comfort Farm (1995)

I don't know why I never got around to reviewing Soccer-Aid on here, that was the last thing I watched on TV and really enjoyed! I always enjoy Cold Comfort Farm. Every time Anna and I have a visitor we educate them in the ways of the world through DVDs, usually with a Bronte TV drama to accompany their inevitable trip to Haworth and then after a walk in the countryside around our house Cold Comfort is usually (appropriately) viewed.
Anna's guest was American Maddy, she is not the first American to be subjected to Cold Comfort and Jane Eyre (Ruth Wilson & Toby Stephens), next thing Maddy knows she'll be sat in front of Brideshead Revisited or the complete Blackadder, that's what I did to my American...
This is going to be a bold statement: I like Cold Comfort Farm as much as I like Withnail & I- and not just because some of it is filmed in the same tea room-it is all extremely quotable. It is of course almost word perfect to the book but the casting is what really makes it a joy every six-months (I could watch it every week I reckon). It is an all-star cast, but none of them probably as massive in 1995 as they are now. And it is the role, out of all he has played on screen, that Rufus Sewell is most perfect in, the role that he should have lived, hell, if he really was Seth in 1930 he would have been a HUGE movie star. The way they shoot his scenes are brilliantly funny, he is perfect for that role. Le sigh! And lead Kate Beckinsale is adorable, if she'd have stayed in Britain she wouldn't have all the fame and riches that she has now in Hollywood but she would have continued to shine in lead roles in TV drama, her film roles of the last ten years have been nothing special, look how bloody funny and sharp she was in this! Jesus fuck! Brits are wasted in America!
Anyway, I like word perfect adaptations of good books, this one is one of the best (and the bits they changed I don't care about! Rennet and Reuben are good together!). I even like Stephen Fry's comic turn, though I suppose it was made before he was on EVERY channel EVERY night in self-indulgent TV documentaries.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Pygmalion (Royal Exchange Manchester)

Saw this a week ago (when I also watched the films 500 Days of Summer and Up in the Air which were both great films, glad to see people have remembered Tommy has a knack for comedy and George Clooney is just charming charming charming AND talented!)
Anyway, went to Manchester and saw Pygmalion at the Exchange Theatre, it was the first time since I studied the play more than ten years ago that I saw Shaw's ending- well, I didn't see it ten years ago, I read it. Even the Leslie Howard film has Eliza running back to him! No no no. Now that I've finally seen the original ending it makes more sense and it is a much more empowering ending for Eliza, not another little victory for Higgins, fuck you Higgins, you're an arsehole!
Had a bit of a problem getting into it thanks to knowing the script to My Fair Lady off by heart, a few times I sniggered because the actors delivered some familiar lines in sing-song voices. I mean, the script's the same! The songs are practically still in there, just not sung. I got over that quickly though, there were lots of good gags and commentary that Shaw wrote that whoever adapted My Fair Lady chose to cut. All the characters in Pygmalion are perfectly written but Eliza is such a good part, such a brilliant comedy part for an actress! Cush Jumbo, the girl playing Eliza was really good, she was goofy and disgusting in the first act and completely transformed in the second (well, sometimes her hand did stray to pull her pants out of her bum but she always stopped herself), she was quite realistically cold and businesslike at the end, just the way it should be played, like I say, fuck you Higgins.
Simon Robson as Higgins was equally as good; smug, arrogant, shouty bastard, that's what you need. If you have a good Higgins and a good Eliza it doesn't matter about the rest- though I have to say the rest were good too, Freddie was such a complete idiot, he really bit the bowl off the spoon.
Yeah? Yeah? Trying that out as a new idiom.