Thursday, 23 December 2010

Home Alone (1990)

"Marv, why the hell d'ya take your shoes off?!"
"Why the hell are you dressed like a chicken?"
Every year we the family watch the following films at Christmas time; Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, The Bishop's Wife, It's a Wonderful Life, The Muppet's Christmas Carol. We also watch Holiday Inn but we do that on New Year's.
Without fail, the real start of the Chritmas films, on the night of the 22nd we watch Home Alone, we watch it on the 22nd so we can watch Home Alone 2 on the 23rd! I know this sounds properly mental but when I think about Home Alone, the music, the 90s, I get emotional. I feel Christmassy, it may be schmaltzy and American but that's only the lines Kevin says, and really we know Kevin can't be that pukeatronic because he's so badass too.
I know the script to Home Alone by heart. It's brilliant writing, it is hilarious. There are so many quotable lines. I wish I could watch Home Alone every day, but watching it once a year makes it more magical, I know that the next day (today!) will be spent getting the last of the food shopping and putting up the last decorations before Home Alone 2, and then after that it's Christmas Eve and we'll pick up the turkey from the butcher's, hoover the house, put out tthe presents and then start the feasting and cry at the Muppets. Christmas to me is about food and those films up there. I could do without Holiday Inn to tell you the truth, by then I'm waiting for the 22nd of December to come around again and watch Home Alone.
"I'm up here, you big horse's ass!"

Bridget Jones' Diary (2001) and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)

When I saw both these films at the cinema I didn't think much of them. The first one was fine, a nice girly comedy, but not my cup of tea. I found the second one very weak; I just thought the plot got more and more ridiculous, ski trip all fine, break up fine, but it started to get weird when publisher Hugh Grant was suddenly a TV presenter at Bridget's work. Ok, a bit odd. Then Bridget gets arrested in Thailand and gets 15 years in jail. Wait, what?! Ok, fine, I suppose that might happen if she accidentally tried smuggling drugs. Finally Bridget runs to see her man only to find the 22 year-old lawyer (already; wot?) she thinks he's having an affair with is actually in love with HER! Right, this was the bit that really annoyed me, the girl has never spent any time with her! How is she so in love with her?! Stupid! Also you really shouldn't expect a marriage proposal from someone you've been seeing for eight weeks. WTF?
But, I watched both films again recently, the second one two days ago and the first about a month ago. The second one still has all those stupid plot devices in it but I found it more enjoyable this time because I liked Bridget so much. It was sort of like how when my friend Suzie watched the sitcom Spaced for the first time and hated Daisy but by the end of the first series she loved Daisy because she realised- like all girl geeks who watch spaced- she IS Daisy! We all are!! And now, on watching Bridget Jones' Diary for the first time sine it came out, watching it at 25 I realised first with horror, and then with fondness, that I AM Bridget. We all are.
It was quite terrifying really how many similarities there were. Bridget duck-walked around the office looking pink and messy with a short skirt and a cardigan on, smug that she's flirting with a handsome man. I said while watching it "Jeez! What a mess she is!" I was wearing the exact same outfit. I wear the same clothes as Bridget every day. I think I look great but I don't, I look pink and messy. And even more horrifyingly the giggly flirting and hoof in mouth in front of handsome bastards, Christ, that's me! Even the massive pants ring a bell.
The only problem is that though I have realised now that I am Bridget Jones I am the Bridget Jones dead and alone in her flat being eaten by alsations rather than the one Hugh Grant and Colin Firth have a brilliantly funny fight through a Turkish restaurant over. Boo!

The Eighth Day (1996)

Daneil Auteil is a top salesman and a shite dad who's not allowed to see his adorable 1990s girls, he decides to end it all one day and closes his eyes while driving in the dark hoping that he will hit a tree and die. Instead he hits care-home escapee Pascal Duquenne's dog and has to bury it in his back garden, take the lost boy into his home and try and figure out just where the hell he's come from and who the hell he belongs to.
Very sweet gentle sad French comedy with some bizarre dream sequences, I enjoyed Luis Mariano turning up all the time to sing his song about his mum.

Candleshoe (1977)

As if it wasn't obvious Jodie Foster wasn't uber-gay right from the beginning! In this Disney film angry little American tomboy Jodie decides to go in with Leo McKern to scam an old British lady out of a fortune by pretending to be her long lost granddaughter- whether she actually is or not is never revealed.
Jodie gets the riches in the end of course, she has to solve a bunch of clues to get them too, that's an old Disney style adventure for you... but she learns that family and friends and being British are more important, with the help of some loveable orphans (older boy, rival girl, cute cockney boy and token asian kid) and David Niven.
I love David Niven. Shouldn't I be watching The Bishop's Wife like right now?! My fave actors of old are himself and Anton Walbrook, the warm charm of Niv and the intensity of theatrical Walbrook, tha's what I love.
In Candleshoe Dave, as the butler, has to disguise the fact that there is no more money and cuts costs by disguising himself as the gardener, the chauffeur and the only visitor who ever comes to the house, a handsome old colonel. What ridiculous crap! Loved it!

How Not to Live Your Life (BBC3)

I missed the first two series of How Not to Live Your Life written by and starring Dan Clark. It seems weird to me that I managed to miss them because there's practically eff all on TV these days and this show is hilarious.
Dan as Don is brilliantly stupid, lazy and gross. But there is something charming about the character which is why it's such good fun. Supporting cast and guest cast are good too, loads of crazies. I enjoyed last week's penultimate episode when he and boss Jason went as Lethal Weapon to Samantha's fancy dress party, I sort of saw it coming but at the same time had never seen a white man blacked up and a black man whited up for such a simple gag then just doing the rest of the show like that and it being so normal. Series finale was ACE, Top Gun The Musical is a play I'd go and see.

Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: the Golden Age (2007)

Anna told me just as I was away to watch these films "Look out for Tom Hardy and Lilly Allen, they make cameos."
Alfie Allen was in the first one and apparently Lilly was in the background of a scene, I didn't see her, Tom Hardy on the other hand was in a TV drama with Ann-Marie Duff as HM. But because I was on the look out for Tom and Lilly I noticed loads of other folk I might not have seen if I'd just been paying attention to the plot!
David Threllfall as John Dee, Adam Godley as Geoffrey Rush's brother and David Armand as Geoff's spy!
Who's David Armand?
"She's a witch!!!!" from Sorry I've Got no Head.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (RSC 1980)

I have finished watching Nicholas Nickleby, all eight hours are gone. What the heck am I going to do tomorrow?! I am quarrantined with some sort of flu, the second bout of tonsilitis in a month is over and has been replaced with this new sickness. Bloody irritating. But if I hadn't been ill for so long I don't know when I'd have got around to watching this.
And what a rollercoaster it was! It was beautiful! I wish I had been there! In the theatre that is, seeing it live, not living a Bleak Expectations sort of life (series four is currently playing on Radio 4). The cast were amazing, I'll get to that in a minute, I just want to stress first how perfect the production was in every sense; music, costumes, stage direction and design, wow! I'm so glad it was filmed and that thirty years on I got to see it.
Ah, now, actor-fest! That will cheer a sickly Amy, spotting character actors and trying to place them. I loved John McEnery most of all, he played a number of outrageous drunk characters, including the madly dressed Mr Mantalini, you know I have a weakness for charming drunkards. Bob Peck as the heroic yorkshireman and the villain after Kate was brilliant in both roles, I liked him. Alun Armstrong was his usual, but I expect this was before we knew what his usual was, so he was really fantastic as disgusting arsehole Mr Squeers, I liked how the audience cheered both times he got the crap kicked out of him but weren't really involved in the rest of the eight hour recording at all! An assortment of brilliant comic turns from ladies and Suzanne Bertish and Janet Dale and damn near everyone else too!
And the leads, David Threlfall very moving as Smike (not nearly as annoying as I've seen him portrayed before), Roger Rees, who- being a bear of very little brain and not keeping up with the West Wing- I recognised instantly from Cheers, was excellently foolish and angry in the title role and as his sister Emily Richard was equally charming and tragic. Best of all the Nicklebys however for me was Ralph, the cold, evil uncle! (Good old Dickens) Played by John Woodvine - the only cast member of David Tennant's RSC Hamlet who I actually saw walking around Stratford, oh wait I saw Tennant too, he was eating dinner in the same restaurant as me, I was more excited by Woodvine though!- he was my favourite. He handled the unravelling of the character very well and delivered a bonus performance as the opera singer in the show Kate went to see!
And unfortunately, though I found Edward Petherbridge's Tony nominated performance of Newman Noggs brilliantly entertaining I couldn't help thinking that with his mad hair, grim countenance, sickly palour and pinkish nose that in my present state I look exactly like him.

Monday, 6 December 2010

The Morgana Show (Channel 4 Tuesdays)

The clip used to advertise Morgana Robinson's sketch show was disturbing.
It made me not want to watch it. It looked like yet another "edgy" comedy show where the politically incorrect or just plain gross sketches make you uncomfortable. Turns out that the character featured in the advert (Gilbert) was one of her most likable, cute and amusing characters.
In fact most of Morgana's sketches and impressions were light-hearted cute fun and none of the characters were disgusting or going for the gross-out factor! There were no sexual jokes, which I found really surprising from channel four, I didn't feel uncomfortable at any point, I liked her a lot!
The talked about Fearne Cotton impression especially good.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Mad Men Series four (BBC4)

I have to say that this series of Mad Men has been my favourite. Probably because I watched it like you're supposed to watch a series, one a week for thirteen weeks making me think about it a lot more than the usual buy-and-watch-in-a-day I went through with the first two series and then watch-in-the-wrong-order I did with series three.
My pal Suzie told me she didn't like this series as much, maybe because it wasn't as safe in it's formulaic setting like the first three, the work at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce [& Campbell!] was not stable so all the characters became even more unstable than usual- but I love character! So this series full of everyone's characters freaking out, breaking down and making out was just a joy!! Jared Harris' episodes were brilliant, Joan and Roger, well, I'm all about that! Pete, excellent and Peggy! Peggy is so flipping ace! I love her more each series.
Bit of a strange series finale, not as exciting as the past finales have been but I'm still excited to see what happens next for Don and his new fiancee... He made the right choice, I think.
Secretly I think the reason why Suzie didn't like this series is because her favourite character, Betty, was shown as the total fucking fruitcake and uber-bitch we all know she is all the way through!! Ugh, she's such a loathsome character! So well written and acted!