Saturday, 21 May 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

Ok. I didn't want to see it, but then last sunday BBC2 showed Curse of the Black Pearl and I watched it and loved it- because it is good. Then I got in the mood for the second one, because I actually really liked that one, the special effects were great and Norrington was in it a lot looking handsome- also Jonathan Pryce did some hero-ing, helping Elizabeth escape, and I liked that. The second film is actually my favourite one. That's why I was so utterly disappointed by the third film, it was all over the place and lacked both Norrington and JP.
So I didn't want to see this one, what if it was as bad- or worse!- than the third film?! But we'd watched them all last week and after seeing the third one again I realised Pirates 4 couldn't possibly be as bad as the third one! So we went to see it.
And it was ok, a good adventure plot and lots of swashbuckling. It wasn't as terrible as three but it wasn't as enjoyable as the other two, it just seemed to lack feeling.
It lacked this because Jack did not have his pals around him, he had no one to banter with, when Gibbs showed up it was great, they were great together, funny and warm, but when he was among the new cast it was like he was alone, he never connected with them and as we learned from the third film, Jack on his own is not funny, he's boring and he looked bored in this film.
Blackbeard's beard wasn't as terrifying as it could be, Penelope Cruz was ok and came closest to being the replacement pal that Jack desperately needed. The missionary and the mermaid seemed superfluous, Jack never spoke to them so we the audience never cared- The films are about Jack! He wasn't even a Captain in this film! That's like, 80% of who that character is! no wonder he seemed so lost!
Anyway, the thing I actually enjoyed in the film was Barbossa, who I never really cared about, it's just in this one he seems to have the most thought out plot! He looks to have gone straight but he's joined the navy to get revenge for losing his ship (and leg), he gets his revenge in the end and gets a much better ship so his plot was all nicely tied up. When he was with Jack the banter returned. Also he had fun scenes with the British, Uncle Monty (Richard Griffiths) as the King and two officers from the other films (the only returning characters aside from Jack, Barbossa and Gibbs!) Gillette and Groves- not sure which is which.
So I was happy to see the handsome officer from the first film, the one who stands behind Norrignton and says "That has to be the best pirate I've ever seen!" I always wondered why he didn't get more screentime, he was there throughout the film and soon became my favourite character- though as soon as he took his wig off I was glad he got shot at the end, good profile and eyebrows, hair not good. Sorry mate.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

A Dance to the Music of Time (channel 4, 1997)

Like a cross between Brideshead Revisited and the Camomile Lawn in that some of the characters are charming like in Brideshead and then all the actors were replaced by older actors who look and act nothing like them in the final episode- like in the Camomile Lawn.
BUT the Camomile Lawn did this much more successfully because throughout the wartime episodes they cut to the 1980s scenes and showed some of the older-selves so that the audience had time to grasp who was who, also they used Jennifer Ehle's mum, Rosemary Harris, to play her so that was really good casting! It was only at Max's funeral when we had to believe that formerly handsome young secondary characters had grown into the most hideous of old extras that it disappointed- this is what happened in ADttMoT, except it wasn't secondary characters, it was the lead.
My mum told me that when my parents first watched it they honsetly believed that the actor who had played the lead (James Purefoy) through the first three films must have died. It was the only explanation they could think of to why they suddenly had another actor play him! That's how much it disturbs the flow of the story! Ok, this might sound odd but here's the real issue, it wasn't that they replaced the actors- it was that they replaced SOME of the actors and put aging makeup on others, and it seems completely at random! James Purefoy suddenly turns into John Standing, Miranda Richardson gets no age makeup and is the same age in 1943 as she is in 1963, Simon Russell Beale is Simon Russell Beale aged 14 to 84 but with bad prosthetics. Why replace some actors and not others!?
Ho hum, I'll get away from the casting problems and onto the story problems.
The Camomile Lawn has no real story, it's about a bunch of inbred poshies bonking during the war. This pretends to have a story but is basically the same sort of thing but with less bonking. I compared it to Brideshead because it follows some boys from school after the first war, Oxford, through their jobs and up to the second war. Also there's the usual characters, James Purefoy as the lead is the Charles, Paul Rhys is the Sebastain but there's also a rake and a fop and a marxist amongst the bunch of pals AND, most importantly there is the brown-nosing flesh-crawly creep, Widmerpool (Simon Russell Beale). It was like watching Brideshead if suddenly Brideshead was not about beauty but about that fat fuck Boy Molcaster and all the boring shit he got up to!
Simon Russell Beale was really good as the creep but- and I know this sounds weird, considering he's so theatre famous- I've never seen him in anything before and I've always assumed he would be like that in every role he plays. He has never appealed to me, he practically lives at the National Theatre, collecting awards a dozen at a time every year, but I just have no desire to see him or any of the plays he appears in. Obviously if he decided to do a play with young Rory Kinnear I would have to make an exception and maybe I'd see the light, but until then he just makes my flesh crawl and this show really didn't help.
In conclusion Paul Rhys was the best thing in it, his Sebastain-esq story was extremely tragic and well acted, his end was horrific.

Dexter, season 4

I had my tonsils out last week and since then I have been watching some of the boxsets that are kicking around my folks' house. My dad likes Dexter because my dad wishes he was Dexter (though my dad also says stuff like "I don't understand why he doesn't just kill his wife and kids!" proving Dexter, the deranged serial killer, is more developed as a human than he is.) I started with Season four even though my dad has season three as well, I did this because John Lithgow was on the box.
Love John Lithgow.
Remember when me and Alison went to see him do his one man show at the National, it was wonderful! Such joy! So I wanted to see him be a bastard, and not just a Cliffhanger or Santa Claus bastard, a proper, hammer weilding bastard. And hey, with the normal image I have of him, staring into a mirror and shouting "God, I'm gorgeous!" it was at first an amusing idea- especially as the first time we see him he kills a girl while looking into a mirror. But it's suitably horrifying straight away for you to say, wait a minute, I don't like seeing him like this! This is horrible!! He was a good bastard. (And rather too attractive in this publicity shot- pin up! Ha!)
Anyway, I liked Dexter and the other characters enough to want to watch the other series now, much better than the cop crap on British TV.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Verdict (Grand Opera House, York)

I went to see the Agatha Christie theatre company perform Verdict tonight, my main reason for going was that a couple of weeks ago I opened up the shop where I work to find a load of leaflets thrown all over the floor, printed on slippery cheap paper they had slid from the desk overnight. When I picked them up I saw Robert Duncan's grimacing old face staring back at me. Drop the Dead Donkey occupies I'd say 30% of my brain space, the character of Gus, played by Robert Duncan, occupies 80% of that 30% (the rest is Henry). So of course I had to see it! Even though plays I've seen starring Rob in the past have been abysmal I had to see it- plus Neville from the Harry Potter films was on the flyer too and he's quite cute.
Neville, go to school. And if you want to be an actor, go to acting school. Yeah, not the best of the bunch. And what a boring, predictable play full of ugly fourth rate actors. The main thing I took from it is where a buttonhole is on a man's lapel. Which is good, because I'd been getting it wrong on drawings all day. I still like Robert Duncan, he always plays Gus whether he's a confident fop, a hideous demon or a conflicted professor. Good old Andy Hamilton!

Les Aventures extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec (2010)

I imagine if I had read the comic, rather than just looking at the collection of cards that my dad has taken from the comic strips (he's a fan of the artist Jacques Tardi- French comic artists are way better than American), I might have known to expect such a weird film. There were no pictures of the pterodactyl in my dad's cards! Just Adele with her tits out!
Anna thought it was terrible but I enjoyed it, if it wasn't for the hatpin incident, the tits (French film) and the Egyptian mummies it would have been a good kids' adventure film! Anyway, I liked her. Her face was great.