Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Rosemary's Baby (1968)

I really enjoyed this film, I thought it was a nice balance of horror and just good story telling. There was nothing gross, no gore, just suspense and paranoia- and quite a bit of unsettling comedy actually. There was a moment towards the end- probably when Charles Grodin turned up- when I thought "Jeez, maybe it is all in Rosemary's mind, maybe she's just mental!"
But it turned out everything was fine!
Oh wait, no it wasn't! She gave birth to the son of Satan!

Merlin and the Sword (1985)

Me and Lauren watched this masterpiece on saturday morning with our breakfast. It was actually very entertaining in a total trash way, you would never guess it was made in 1985, it looks like 1970.
The best bit was the dragon fight at the end and the many shots of Rupert Everett's gormless face. I wanted a picture of his gormless face for the review but there is practically nothing on the internet about this film other than weird youtube videos of naked Rupert... Oh, and a trailer that someone has put their own narration on to, I can't really see how the original narration could have been much different to tell you the truth.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The English Patient (1996)

The English Patient is my sister's favourite film, she carries this picture of Ralph Fiennes and Kirsten Scott-Thomas dancing together in her wallet. My favourite film is The Elephant Man, I do not carry a picture of John Merrick.
I think what Anna likes about The English Patient is the passion between the lovers, it's pretty intense! I think she likes how real and horrifically painful their love seems to be- and it helps that they're both gorgeous! The film is gorgeous, it looks beautiful and it sounds beautiful, it has a really good musical score. It's a tragic romance and that's what Anna likes to write about.
So what do I like to write about? Isolation and loneliness, horrible nasty bastards and drunks. I love The Elephant Man, it has the real life tragedy yeah, I like tragedy too but more importantly it has over the top theatrical performances, which I adore, it has a good musical score and it looks like a black and white illustration. I watched Anna's favourite film with her last night but no one ever wants to watch The Elephant Man with me.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Lost in Austen (ITV 2008)

Wide Saragasso Sea is the world's most accepted fanfic. Don't know the meaning of the word "fanfic"? Let me explain, Lost in Austen is a typical example of a fanfic.
A character who is not supposed to be in Pride and Prejudice turns up with intersting hair and all the characters fall in love with her, fucking up and ruining the beloved novel. It is something teenagers all over the world do when they learn to write. I myself, though no longer a teenager, indulge in writing fanfiction, fair enough the things I write are not your typical "But then Snape reaslised he did love [insert ridiculous Bratz-doll style name] even though she was only 16 and it turned out he was ridiculously hot and well endowed the end." I don't do that, well, not anymore...
The idea that someone can get their fanfic turned into a TV series starring a lot of really really good British actors is mental, isn't it? Fanfics are drivel, aren't they? Yes, they are. And essentially Lost in Austen is drivel, but it is so enjoyable!
I don't even like Jane Austen let alone Pride and Prejudice but I have watched Lost in Austen so many times! The Mary-Sue (Jemima Rooper's Amanda) is so likeable! She's not an uber-babe with a mysterious past, she's a normal girl who just happens to fall into her favourite novel. She swears and kicks people in the balls, she is ACE.
And the characters, they are as they are on the page! The Bennet sisters are all appalling! Lizzy is normal (cameo from Gemma Arterton) Jane the beauty is weird looking- pale and pointy, the kind of face that was considered beautiful back then! The others are just silly girls! Mr and Mrs Bennet are so well written, Hugh Bonnenville on excellent form! Alex Kingston playing it like Miss Piggy, fussing and fuming! Mr Bingley is an idiot and his sister a horrible cow! Darcy is gorgeous like Heath Ledger and Collins, well, Collins is unbelievably disgusting.
Played with such relish by Guy Henry, I liked him already but after seeing this, I adored him. He is utterly utterly vile as Mr Collins. In the Keira Knightley film he's played by Tom Hollander, who plays it pious and uptight but he is not physically repulsive! These girls are supposed to be revolted by the idea of marrying him and Guy Henry does it such justice.
I made my Canadian friend Katie watch this after we went to see Harry Potter, I had told her "Guy Henry's in it, he looks like one of your drawings; a long, creepy undertaker." And he does look long and weird, but he has a spectacularly beautiful face, maybe not shown off in the Potter movie and certianly while he gurns and simpers through Lost in Austen you don't see it often, but there are moments when his face is at rest that you can see those dark dark eyes framed by lovely long black eyelashes... sigh! He's one of my favourite actors.
I love Lost in Austen. Everything goes so wrong and Amanda tries so hard to fix it. Best thing ITV has done in 25 years.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One (2010)

Bill Nighy!! Guy Henry!! Rhys Ifans!! Dave Coaches!! Sophie Thompson!! The guy Harry turns into at the Ministry!! And that guy playing the lead snatcher who is doing an obvious impression of Russell Brand!!
Yes, it's Harry Potter time. So phone up some more British actors!
My sister's review of the new Potter film sings it's praises more clearly than I ever could: "It was the first one that didn't disappoint me."
Yes it was good. The new lot of supporting actors (see my list above) were good, the actors who are always there acted within their respective ranges and the actors who treat it as a children's film didn't feature heavily so they didn't fuck it up (Alan Rickman and Timothy Spall I'm talking about you).
Yes, DanRads, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson were all good in this film, Emma in particular I found surprisingly good, she is usually the worst, but all she had to do in this film was look worried and she did it well- it's when she has to do unnatural things such as laughing and joking that she is dreadful, turns out pain and anguish is something she does quite well! Rupert is always good and DanRads was his usual.
I said it was good because the campier actors didn't feature heavily, there was only one Snape scene so Rickers wasn't there to camp it up like he usually does and I don't think Timothy Spall had any lines - he still managed to make me cringe though with an "amusing" noise as he was cursed by a house elf (the only real change from the book- and possibly for the best), while this is happening Hermione is being tortured and I just don't think it's appropriate to have a bit of comedy thrown in to lighten the mood, Timothy Spall has always done this with his character and it's always bothered me, Wormtail is not a comic role, he's the right hand man of a fucking evil psycho! Tim Spall is one of my favourite actors, best in comedic roles but very real in pathetic roles as well so why he chose to play the part like Barry from Auf Wiedersehen Pet is beyond me when actors around him are playing their parts so straight! (I tell a lie, Barry is much more realistic- and my favourite character)
Dobby and Kreacher were there, who knows where they've been all this time, not getting makeovers unfortunately, the animators are still shite. Kreacher is a better, a more convincing design for a CGI character because he doesn't have stupid cartoon eyes like Dobby but I never liked Dobby in the books either so I suppose he worked well too, sort of. Pointless cuteness in a film full of horror and holocaust references.
That's what was done well in the film. The feeling of everything being disgustingly wrong- especially at the ministry. And the isolation and paranoia with the trio camping in the woods losing their minds, I was waiting for Harry to snap and murder the other two. Good soundtrack and good camera work for those bits- also, not nearly as boring as in the book!!
So they changed Wormtail's death, maybe now he'll use that silver hand of his to kill his werewolf ex-buddy like we all asumed he would when JK Rowling wrote that in. Or maybe not. The only other major change was the exclusion of the Lupin/Tonks storyline but no big surprises there, they always cut those bits. I'm glad though, Lupin is the only character I had cast in my mind before the films, I like that no one but Paul McGann has acted out those parts in my head, David Thewlis is ok, but Lupin is such a well loved character that I don't think he lives up to anyone's expectations. But yeah, in general it was a really good adaptation.
Oh yeah, before I go... Why are Lucius and Draco Malfoy now being played by Mad Men's Don Draper and Pete Campbell?!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Asylum (1972)

JD saved the best for last, Asylum stuck to the same formula as The House That Dripped Blood, a collection of short stories linked by the film's setting. In the first film we watched a detective hired to find out the deal with the spooky house- Elliot, Cushing, Lee and Pertwee all died there after renting it. We didn't really see what the curse was as the detective got killed by a vampire Doctor Who before figuring it out! Asylum might have had a couple of weaker stories but the setting and the final twist were all together creepier!
It reminded me of a Batman comic, all my favourite Batman comics take place in Arkham, the villains will grab an intern at the asylum and torture him or her mentally, by telling tales. Robert Powell was the intern in the film and the cast of crazies were all stars; Charlotte Rampling, Britt Eckland, Peter Cushing, Herbert Lom, James Villiers... And of course, the best part, the doctor showing young Powell around turned out not to be a nice chap at all but a proper mental played by Catweazle, Geoffery Bayldon. Yay!!

The House that Dripped Blood (1971)

JD, Heather, Big Iain and I had a Dundee-horror night last weekend, I like horror films but I don't like gore, I like psychological thrillers. JD delivered with an excellent variety of pics, we started with two recent horrors; Pontypool (2008) and The Children (2008).
Pontypool was exactly what I wanted, thumbs up to that one, a real mind-fuck!! I fancied The Children because I fancy Stephen Campbell-Moore, JD lied though, there was gore in that film- gross realistic wounds!!- I don't like that!! I like things that will haunt my brain!
I'd had enough of realism. So after the two recent films JD asked what we would like next, I chanted "Catweazle! Catweazle!" I needed something light.
We'd both been watching Mark Gatiss' History of Horror documentaries on BBC4 and I'd enjoyed the section on British horror so much that I'd watched the horrible (but good) Witchfinder General so my host picked out this little gem...
The House that Dripped Blood, despite it's title and gross poster over there, contained not one single drop of blood! Just four little horror stories starring a collection of dreamy British actors! And when I say dreamy I mean I've always liked them; Denholm Elliot starred in the first, then gorgeous Peter Cushing- swoon, big handsome brute Christopher Lee and then, urm, John Pertwee hamming it up in the last- BUT with cameo from even hammier Geoffery Bayldon aka CATWEAZLE!!