Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

At first I was like 'Why's the CGI so terrible in this film?!' but then I didn't mind because it was all so ridiculous I ended up enjoying it immensely! Truly trash but so enjoyable, all the cheesy references, TERRIBLE cgi, it looked like a cartoon!! So many letter-box actors, and the worst plot and script! I must write it down...
Ok, so James Franco is trying to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease and testing his medicine on monkeys, it works but he gets the sack and ends up keeping a super intelligent baby monkey in his attic, already we're like, what? How can he afford to do that and why does no one find out for like five years? He cures his declining father with the same formula but after a few years John Lithgow's immune system gets rid of the stuff and Franco sets to work making a better version of the magic potion.
Franco's super-monkey hurts the unlucky guy who lives next door through protecting Lithgow (as monkeys do) and he gets put into an EVIL monkey sanctuary that literally would not exist in reality. The guys who work there are dicks and you wonder if they hate monkeys so much why do they work at a monkey sanctuary? "I like violence and I hate animals." "We have the perfect job for you, at the monkey sanctuary!"
Back at the pharmaceutical company Franco used to work at before getting fired at the start the greedy British black man who owns it gives him the go-ahead and they all decide to try the new medicine on the most EVIL looking monkey they can find... British black man then watches new improved evil clever monkey drawing evil bananas and writing his name on a list under the heading of 'To Kill' but is not worried at all.
Main monkey becomes king and somehow the other monkeys understand what he asks them to do despite the fact they are just monkeys (???) he makes them intelligent however with new improved gas- which coincidentally is deadly to humans. Unlucky guy next door catches a face full of deadly germs and it is revealed over the end credits (after all the intelligent monkeys have run into the woods and turned over a load of cars etc.) that he is a pilot and he spreads the plague all over the work thus eradicating the human race leaving apes as the ruling species. The End.
I really enjoyed Tom 'Draco Malfoy' Felton, playing the biggest douchebag of all time, how awesome to deliver the line, "Get your stinking paw off me, you damn dirty ape!" He was really good and his American accent was far better than Dominic Cooper's in Captain America.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2011 Part Three

And the last two. I saw Lip Theatre Company's amusing play In For a Pound and my god it was funny and mad. A good tight show it reminded me of the plays my friend Evil Dave wrote while we were in Lip six years ago... I was so glad I got to hang out with the cast at the end of Fringe party my friends hosted, they are a lovely talented bunch with great faces for comedy.
The Sweet Release was a cabaret at the Sweet venue, I think I got about ten acts crammed into that hour! Stand ups, belly dancers, music, magic and Dr Beard.
I loved the belly dancing, the first girl was good but watching my friend Lynne was hypnotic and very sexual, watching Lynne dance was like being on drugs! The stand-ups were great and the piano player who sang an improvised song that the audience chose the lyrics to was fun. Such a shame we only got three minutes of Laura Hayden, I like cock jokes told by women. I must say the comparing was vastly improved once transferred into the hands of that capable man of science, Dr Beard. Half way through he did his mad set, which went down extremely well with everyone despite it being quite an eclectic manic drug-fueled style of comedy, very physical, he uses mime, sings songs but it's mainly bellowing. He then compared the rest of the show which was great because everyone was glad to see him again.
I will soon post a picture of Dr Beard, or maybe of Dr Dad, his father (played this year by me).

Friday, 26 August 2011

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2011 Part Two

Simon Munnery's Show, well, I was really drunk,and that just made it all the more magical. Especially the bubble hat. My favourite part- apart from the video of the Gillette eight bladed razor advert set in the 1940s- was the Sherlock Holmes monologue. Ace.
The Carroll Myth at Sweet on the Grassmarket was recommended to me by pals DBS. Great script, it was really well acted and staged -and the costumes were lovely. I liked all the instantly recognisable bits of Alice but also liked the not so recognisable bits. The Cheshire cat was cleverly done, played by three actresses in identicle cat suits just appearing in different parts of the room- including on the audience's lap!
Richard Herring, I see him every year, I saw him three times this year, and who knows maybe I'll see him again on Sunday or Monday! I went to recordings of his Edinburgh Podcast which are really great, two different comics on every day, one for chatting with and the other to do a five minute bit to promote their show. I saw Al Murray and he was great because he wasn't the one doing the five minute bit, he wasn't the pub landlord who Murray descibed jovially as "just a fucking idiot!" he was an Oxford boy talking to another Oxford boy and giggling. So much fun.
And of course I also saw Rich's excellent show, What Is Love, Anyway? Calum and I went and though Rich spends the entire hour just shouting it is very very good and he even managed to shout some quite sensitive stuff that sort of proves that Love is definitely something.
Faust/Us the one-man show of Doctor Faustus is so fucking terrifying and clever and exhausting and innovative I don't know how to review it! The show relies completely on Calum breathing in exactly the same places each night, the one hour projection of film, animation, puppetry and sound rolls while the actor acts around it playing all the characters convincingly with as little as a simple change of stance!
I think it's really brilliant that Calum has managed to use that animation degree even if it's just knowledge of how things work on screen. The film alone would be an amazing show but it's great that it's been useful for what he is actually going to do for the rest of his life, perform.
Fordie! I went to see Matt Forde's show Dishonourable Member and I fucking loved it. Though Matt must have sweat an entire ocean I still found myself a bit in love with him. That's what politics will do to a girl. Oh, is it just me? Just me who found Fordie's sports style commentary to an imaginary Labour Party win extremely emotional? Just me and Fordie who feel as strongly about Oasis as they do about the Labour Party? Yes. Fordie's show was for me, that's why I went on my own, the boy himself says that his opinions usually split the room, my opinions do too, that's why I came on my own, and it was brill. Bonus for the Alan Partridge sex jokes, we've all been there, mate.
Jon Richardson's written a book called It's Not Me, it's You. He's in Edinburgh doing some readings, no show this year, a book instead! I look forward to reading it all and agreeing with it all. Vis Fordie and the Labour Party, Jon Richardson and me are OCD buddies. Fuck, when it comes to cleaning and organising, I am up there with the mentalists. I get angry when I'm eating dinner because the plate I'm eating off is dirty- this sounds normal, of course you would be, that's disgusting! No. I mean that I have to clean everything I've used to cook with before I can eat the meal I've made and it bothers me that because the dinner is on the plate that plate now needs to be cleaned but I can't do it until after I've eaten it despite the fact I just DID all the washing up.
Yeah... Not even Jon would be that crazy.
Anyway, I hope he's ok, in the future I mean. I know I will be, because though I'm crazy, I enjoy washing up and cleaning up, and whoever I end up with will have to deal with the fact that I want to do those things- not to make their lives easier, but so I know it's done properly.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2011 part one

I went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on Sunday and came back last night, I'm going back again tomorrow (I came back for one day of work!) so I thought I'd post my thoughts on some of the shows I saw on Part One of the trip, before I forget them all after Part Two!
The first show I saw was The Man Who Planted Trees, a kids show which I was attracted to by the puppet in this photograph and by my pal Calum recommending it. It was really lovely, a simple poignant story told by a soft spoken English bloke in French and English while the other guy provided the comic relief in the form of a wise cracking American puppet dog- the dog was coincidentally the best actor I saw this last week.
Mind you, the actors in Subsist, a post-Zombie Apocolypse drama, were pretty darn good too. I've known the company since they were students and now they are fully formed actors. A good gimmick; there are four different endings and none of the actors know which it'll be until the final scene- the one I got was chilling, though I believe most of them are! Trapped in the claustrophobic venue with them the play was terrifying. Great achievement for a play with no actual zombies.
And on a lighter note some radio4 types pretend to teach lions synchronised swimming. Paul Merton's Impro Chums was such a timewarp of a show! I like Radio4 but this was like Radio4 in the 1950s! Still a giggle but wow, times have changed. Nice and gentle, I hope the 70 year olds in the audience weren't too upset by the eff word.Jimeoin is another one good for a giggle. We saw him last year so Laura and I decided to go again! He had a new show, and only did about three minutes of last year's material. A lot of this year's show seemed to be observational comedy about different birds- not women, like pigeons and swans... I like him, he has a mad face. That's really all you want from an Irish comic.
My Family saw the Duchess of Malfi a few years go without me, I really wanted to see it because I love Imogen Stubbs. I missed it though, can't remember why. Anyway, I was on my way to buy shoes when I was given the flyer for Malfi, a version of the play set in a Jazz club. I thought, yeah, I don't need shoes and stumbled into the Bedlam Theatre.
It was exactly what I pictured- in a good way! These Revengers Tragedy type plays are always good when the blood and horror is choreographed, jazz was the perfect choice. The music and mood was so well done. Good company too- The Offshoots- good name!
Set in a fudge shop, about guys working in a fudge shop, free fudge?! The Fudge Shop was fun and the fudge was sickly. Luckily they also gave out free bottles of water for you to wash it down with. For the cheapest show I saw (seven quid) it was really good value! My friends have given it five stars, I reckon this is because they're starving, I'd give it three and a half, cut that baby-blowjob joke and you'd get four. Loved the ending, really fun.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Young Vic)

Anna recommended this one for my birthday, she made me read the Pillowman once, it was terrifying! But I’ve seen In Bruges and that had such an excellent script I was like, hell yeah, sign me up for Martin McDonagh.
This was a really good production of a very good, funny and tragic play. Four brilliant characters brought to life by four brilliant actors, all so well written!
Nice atmos at the Young Vic too, loved having to walk through the rain to get to our seats, good old Ireland! Depressing!
First half was brilliantly funny and I found myself identifying with Maureen far too much, second half was still so funny but it got dark- real dark! I didn’t like my self-awareness anymore!!
I really liked it, glad I got ill after it, not during!

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Theatre Royal Haymarket)

I finally got to see Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. I am so very pleased I did!
I know Hamlet like the back of my hand what with seeing so many versions lately, so I loved all the scenes where Ros and Guil had to do their lines and just deal with it all! I loved the scenes with the Players, excellent fun and I loved the scenes where it was just the two of them- though when they lasted longer than twenty minutes they got a bit tedious... Existentialism isn't that great. Probably would have got tedious quicker if they hadn’t been played by lovely lovely Posner and Scripps. God, they were just too cute! Jamie Parker and Sam Barnett, always my favourite History Boys, I love seeing you both on stage. They made it so very entertaining. Such sweeties.
I love fanfics.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Captain America (2011)

I was really looking forward to Captain America. And the first hour really delivered, it was a great origin story and then the bit with the USO show was so much fun, what a great song!
After that though, when he actually started being Captain America it was so boring and you don't really learn anything about the characters, no pasts, no motivation, what was the Red Skull actually after? What was it actually about? Why did JJ Feild have no closeups?
I was very annoyed that the girl character was so typically what they're always like in those Marvel films, she said at one point that she had struggled in life too, but that was as much character development you got!! She was just there to really really like Captain America.
I liked all the British character actors (Toby Jones, Richard Armitage, Dakin, Filch, etc.) and the end credits were very nicely done.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

A Woman Killed With Kindness (National Theatre)

After War Horse we went back to the National and saw this. I have to say I was extremely disappointed.
I get so annoyed when the National doesn't deliver. Peter Hall's Twelfth Night was so boring and uninventive. This modern-day (well, 1919) version of Heywood's 17th century play at least looked inventive. Two beautiful interiors filled the stage and the costumes and the way the characters moved around were very beautiful.
But it was slow and it was boring.
The actors did their best, well, sort of, there was a lot of crashing and bashing of the set over the dialogue at the beginning which was very irritating, you couldn't hear anything!
My main problem though was with the story. If you're going to set a play where a woman starves herself to death in a different period to when it was written, don't set it at a time where it just wouldn't have happened! I can see the parallel the director was trying to make with the ol' sufferagettes, but it seemed so unlikely that the characters around Anne would have let her do that to herself. It was ridiculous and it just ended, suddenly.

War Horse (New London Theatre)

My Norweigan pal came to stay last month, she is a big theatre junkie, but she prefers musicals. She told me to book us a show that she hadn't seen. I booked War Horse, because all though Linn didn't want anything too heavy, I thought she would enjoy it on an aesthetic level if nothing else.
I saw War Horse at the National a couple of years ago with my emotionally stunted sister, so I had to hold in the tears so as not to embarrass her and I nearly died in the process. This time I was with Linn and Alison and at the end we were all sobbing tears of grief and joy- the best kind of tears.
War Horse is Spectacular.
The puppetry is amazing. Less than ten seconds in you will believe the horses are real. You will worry for the actors safety when the horses freak out, you'll think "god, those horses could hurt someone!" they are that well designed and performed.
The music is beautiful and emotive, the stage craft is excellent and hasn't changed that much since the theatre switch, the story is TOO emotional. If you're an emotional cripple, like I am, go to War Horse once a year, it's so much better than a breakdown, just let it all out.
Alison started crying when Joey turned from a foal into a grown horse, that was only 15 minutes in!
I don't care if they're making a film, I'm not interested, nothing could compare to this experience, a real horse will never be as engaging or as charming and tragic as the puppet Joey. I effing love War Horse.

Anne Boleyn (Shakespeare's Globe)

A few weeks ago Alison and I saw Anne Boleyn at the Globe, I had wanted to see Rosencrantz and Guildenstern- and so had Alison! But Anna booked the tickets and then couldn't come.
Anyway, I enjoyed it, it was a million times better than The Other Boleyn Girl, Henry VII was hot and charming, Anne was a good lead and it was a good script, though James I and Villiers' dance and makeout number in the middle I recall was the real highlight.
It was fun and it was period so it fit at the Globe but as always, when I go to the Globe and I don't see a Shakespeare I kind of feel like what's the point?

Henry IV Part One and Part Two (Shakespeare's Globe)

Last weekend Anna and I went to the cinema to Shakespeare's Globe 2010 production of Henry IV- part one on saturday and part two on sunday.
We phyiscally saw (at the Globe) the production of The Merry Wives of Windsor that they're also screening at the cinema, about four years ago, it was absolutely wonderful and tons of fun. Andrew Havill in particualr as Ford was hilarious I remember. But that was the only expeience I'd had of Falstaff, played by Christopher Benjamin as the disgusting fat old wretch you expect when you read Falstaff.
I have chosen to post a photo of Roger Allam's Falstaff and his gang from part two rather than a photo of the two lovelies Sam Crane and Jamie Parker as Hotspur and Hal from part one because though, as I've cleary indicated, the boys were utterly lovely and such bloody good actors- Crane a brilliant creepy villain (and, above, a fun Russell Brand impersonator), Parker the ultimate young leading Shakespearean hero, such a natural charming actor, god, he was like a young Kenny Brannagh except Scripps!!- Anyway, I've chosen to post Falstaff here because I love Falstaff. Roger Allam was so so good. He won the Olivier, we all knew he was going to be good, the reviews were great but, man, he was SO good! I mean, yes, I've had a crush on him for a long time. Even as Falstaff with the padding on, he was such a fucking charming, warm, and witty, handsome coward! He was not a disgusting Falstaff and everything he said made perfect sense to me!!
Hot. This is getting tagged under 'handsomes'. Not for Scripps, not for Crane, for Allam.
Anyway, wonderful staging, so accessible, brilliant acting and ensemble. Part one was so much fun, part two was a tad depressing, especially as Allam was such a lovable Falstaff (don't like the idea of him dying in Henry V). I would have loved to have seen the shows live at the Globe and I'm so glad I got to see them now! I hope more theatres start filming and then showing in cinemas, instead of hiding them all away for the public never to see...

Intermission

Ok, I've been terrible, I have five plays to write about before I forget them completely. I will do it tonight. I'm off to London next week to see Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and then the week after that I'm in Edinburgh Fringing it up. Until later please enjoy these pictures of DanRads in The Woman in Black and Richard Armitage in North and South. or is it the other way around...