Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Great Expectations (BBC2)

It started off well, Young Pip and Magwich and the Fens were all perfect. I've never seen the setting done so well before, well done whoever was in charge of location! Miss Havisham was good too, gross and creepy and weak, really weak, I've seen her played strong too many times and of couse she isn't at all, she's a nut.
Then suddenly Pip grew up and was played not by a normal lad like the lad who played him as a child but by a Robin Hood/Merlin boy-bander with a face that was completely out of the wrong period.
Twenty five years ago the British leads were Anthony Andrews and Nigel Havers types, the guy playing Herbert Pocket, Harry Lloyd would have been cast as the lead not as the bumbling best friend! He was thin and charming and British looking, whereas the boy playing Pip in this Christmas' BBC drama looked like a gay Egyptian.
I mean why go the whole hog on everything else then totally miscast the lead? Everyone else was good! A good British character actor everywhere you looked and Justin Fucking Bieber standing in the middle of it all!
Anyway, they rushed it all, it should have been over four episodes.
And what the hell? Why was there a happy ending?! He's supposed to realise Estella is a bitch! Not live happily ever after with her! Ugh!! Crap.

Le Placard (2001)

Please allow me to now talk about my favourite film of all time. On watching it again, for probably the third time in 12 months (as I always do) I think perhaps it is better than Withnail & I and Some Like it Hot, and has taken over gaining first place in my personal film chart.
The Closet is perfect, it's the right length, it has a Shakespearean plot full of people pretending to be what their not and other people pretending that other people are pretending etc and it has the perfect cast.
Daniel Auteuil is an insignificant nobody, his ex wife and his teenage son aren't interested in him and he is about to get fired. How does he fix this? He pretends to be gay. No, he pretends nothing, he is the same as always, but he lets everyone believe that behind his shy and quiet exterior he is a raving queer. He can't get fired, that's discrimination, but he becomes somehow interesting to everyone all of a sudden, his co-workers, his ex and his son.
It is played beautifully and it is the Malvolio of the piece Gerard Depardieu who brings the most wonderful performance, the homophobic pig forced to be nice to the gay man when he is tricked into thinking his job is in danger, it goes far too far and Depardieu has a breakdown and thinks himself in love with Auteuil, when rejected he goes nuts and ends up in the looney bin.

Gimme Gimme Gimme (1998-2001)

And now for something completely different. Remember this?
How the hell did it ever get on the telly?! It is so flipping rude!! But it is fabulous.
On Christmas day with my family I watched two episodes of Gimme Gimme Gimme and the Inbetweeners movie, we are obviously disgusting.
Watching this though has made me realise how things have become more conservative lately even in comedy. Rev is on it's third season.... Seriously?!
Can you imagine 15 years ago a gentle sitcom about a vicar's daily life, what the fuck? We are not a religious country!! These are Tory values!! 15 years ago we had Father Ted and the Vicar of Dibley, yes they were religious characters but above that he was a chainsmoker trapped on an island with a load of arseholes and she was just a fat woman who liked chocolate also surrounded by arseholes! Religion is always something that we have poked fun at, why the fuck are we making this affectionate show about a vicar as though it's good comedy?! Gimme Gimme Gimme would never get commissioned under a Tory government, it's lewd, vile, disgusting and hilarious.

Tangled (2010)

This one on the other hand was fab. The plot was simple and easy to follow and there were loads of gags, the characters were dopes and no one was serious about anything.
Animation was stunning too, not just churned out because Disney noticed there's a black president.
A few too many songs but other than that the whole family enjoyed it, loved the horse!

The Princess and the Frog (2009)

Disney's odd attempt to welcome the Obama administration failed miserably with bland bland characters as they tried so hard to be PC. Scared to give their black heroine any traits that might make her human the only interesting character was the cliche send-up of the spoiled white brat, she was funny and cute whilst all the bland black characters could have been anybody.
Also the plot was all over the place, kids don't know what voodoo is!! I refuse to believe any child could follow that.

The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff (BBC4)

Words cannot describe how disappointed I was by this.
I love Bleak Expectations on the radio but it's transfer to TV was utterly dire and lost all humour it once had.
Only one small joke made me laugh and that's because I like Una Stubbs.

The Illusionist (2010)

It was because of seeing old whatshisface that I remembered this film. I had seen it at the cinema and then been so overwhelmed by emotions that I had to have a lie down, I don't know why I didn't write about it at the time because I thought it was so good then.
The Illusionist is a stunning film, visually and emotionally. If you know Edinburgh well you will really appreciate it. I first watched it with a boy who lived in Edinburgh, then with my parents who had just been on a little holiday to the city and on New Year's Eve I watched it with my chap after earlier in the month we had ourselves had a little holiday there.
The artwork is beautiful, so much care has gone into each background painting and the watercoloured style is so fitting for the 1950s story. The characters too are well designed and all the animation is seemless and perfect. Scotland has the best scenery and the artwork does it such justice, some scenes are just breathtaking!
The story is sad but full of gentle humour. There is hardly any dialogue, he speaks French and she speaks Galic, you don't need to understand what they say as it's animated so well and the point of it is it can be enjyed by anyone in any country, ah, such a joy to have such thought put into a film!
Sorry Rob, that I made you watch something so sad when you were ill, but at least it was beautiful too, non?

27 (Edinburgh Lyceum)

I actually saw a play the night before I went to see this play in York put on by a little group of local actors, I can't remember what it was called but it was about this girl who had an imaginary friend who she played sex games with, it was really weird and ticked every cliche in the book but the set design and the costumes were good.
Then I went on a day trip and saw 27 up in Edinburgh, my main memory from seeing it was that the set looked SO dangerous. There was a huge steep staircase, open on one side and the older actors who played the nuns kept running up and down it, I was on edge and uncomfortable watching it. Nuns vs Scientists. Not my cup of tea really, seemed more suited to being a Radio 4 play as nothing was said that needed to use that giant staircase, in fact I might have been more able to concentrate on it if the distraction of the idea of Maureen Beattie plunging to her death of the edge hadn't been there! Can see why Nick le Prevost was cast as the American, he's sort of old Holywood in his looks, not as camp as Cary Grant but almost.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

The Nutcracker (The Bolshoi Ballet)

The English Ballet did a version on BBC4 this Christmas but me and Anna went to the cinema to see the Russian company's version being broadcast from a French theatre. It was fabulous and seeing snippets of the English version on Christmas Eve I can safely say it is far superior than anything we can do.
Those Russians sure can dance! Ah, it was the Christmas show we needed to really get us in the mood! Beautiful costumes and sets, nothing artsy-fartsy, traditional, Christmassy kitsch!

The Bishop's Wife (1947)

Ah, another Christmas has come and gone. Another 352 days until Home Alone comes around again. Man, I know I said this last year, but as soon as it was over I couldn't wait to see it again!
The Bishop's Wife is another one we watch every year. It was extra special this year though 'Cause we watched the well loved video (taped off the tv in the late 80s, complete with weird adverts for 7-up and Stephen Fry silenty munching extra strong mints, oh and Henry from Drop the Dead Donkey doing the same!) after Anna cooked a roast dinner in the York flat for me, Maddie, Lawrence and Roger. We had a decorated flat and though there was still another week and a half until Christmas it was damn Christmassy!
Anyway, ignore the fact that Cary Grant is the sleaziest angel you've ever seen, Loretta Young's hat is hideous and Daivd Niven could do better. It is very Christmassy.

Les Emotifs Anonymes (2010)

Romantics Anonymous.
The ending falls flat but the other 80 minutes are super lovely and great.
I really REALLY liked this film.
If you are or have been in your past a socially awkward person unable to tell someone how you feel about them, as I am or have been or am, you should like it.
Also, if you like scenes of great sexual tension played by actors so normal looking but playing characters who are so endearing you find them both extremely attractive, you should like it.
He owns a chocolate factory that it going bust and she is a talented chocolatier hired under the misaprehension that she is a saleswoman. He can't touch anyone and has never been on a date and she is overwhelmed and brought to tears if anyone even asks her a question. When they kiss it is so hot.
I think the reason why it is so hot is that they are both 40+ and normal looking. There is nothing more bland than seeing Kristin and R-Patz make out, Isabelle Carré and Benoît Poelvoorde on the other hand was one of the best movie smooches I've ever seen on the big screen.
I look forward to buying the dvd.

Bored to Death: Series One

I watched this when I was ill as well. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Gentle and affectionate and silly. Lovely characters and so easy to relate to.
I watched all eight episodes in one sitting, I was scared at the end of episode one, I had this horrible feeling that Jonathan wasn't going to go on pretending to be a PI and that he'd be something different each week and it would never match the brilliance of the first episode. Phew! It continued.
Ted Danson is so good. You forget how good he is! Cheers was fantastic, remember?! It's just he then tried to go into films and some people are just made for TV and on TV he is gold, solid gold. Jason Schwartzman's character was a bit too whiny sometimes but with great supposrt from Danson and that other guy and Oliver Platt too, it became less about him towards the end and I loved it more for that. Can't wait to see the next two series!

X-Men First Class (2010)

I got the lurgy early November and my dad rented this for me to watch which was fun because I'd been meaning to see it, especially as I now work in a comic shop!
I enjoy the X-Men films, in fact I enjoy a lot of the Marvel films despite having no interest in any Marvel comics (apart from Frank Miller's Electra and Daredevil). I enjoyed this one too.
Fassbender's pretty damn good isn't he? If he hadn't have been in the film it would have been a lot of shite, the only highlight being Hugh Jackman's two word cameo. I liked Magneto and his past and his relationship with Bluey. The rest was pretty shite though, 'specially Kevin Bacon and his lame gang!
I don't know about James MacAvoy being miscast, I think he would have made a very good young Prof X if only the script hadn't been so awful! Why did the writers choose to write him as a cocky arsehole? It wasn't his fault. If they'd written him serene and wise and not a sexpest I'm sure he would have been very convincing.

The Adventures of Tintin (2011)

I saw it in 3D. I think I would have hated it in 2D as well. To me the thing about Herge is that his drawings are very beautiful, the characters are great and the backgrounds are great, it's good art.
The thing I hated most about the film was not the fact that hardly any of the voices seemed to fit the characters, Toby Jones was good but underused and Jamie Bell was fine, it wasn't that the whole thing looked like it had been animated around the idea that there would be a theme park ride based on it within the year, no, the thing I hated was how beautiful drawings had been transofrmed into utterly grotesque characters.
I could not get around how vile Captain Haddock was to look at, all the character designs, even Snowy, made me uneasy. Fleshy and horrible with tiny eyes, ugh. I hated it.

George Harrison Living in the Material World

I saw the George Harrison documentary at the cinema, of course I did, I love George Harrison, it's about thirty percent of who I am!
Anyway, this was in October, I have been extremely busy since then, a fun new day job, a big BBC drama art comish (ongoing) and a nice chap to see in my free time.
Let's see what I remember of this (and the other things I'm about to write about!)... It was four hours long.
I liked the photos and the music and George's letters to his parents during Beatlemania read by his son, also the bits where George's close male friends were talking fondly about him- even Macca.
I intensely disliked both his ex-wife and his widow and the attitude in which they spoke about him, Patti Boyd was shallow and self-obsessed, as you would expect of a model but Olivia Harrison was utterly utterly awful. I have never heard her speak and so always asumed she was nice. When you think about it though, in the ten years since George died she has released a lot of box sets, albums, books and films and has been cashing in ever so slightly the way George could never really be bothered with- as we learn through listening to his pals interviewed, he just didn't give a crap about the ol' material world.
Anyway, I was shocked at how blunt and open she was when it came to talking about George's death. She's Mexican and maybe over in America and the likes it's cathartic to talk about your husband's agonising slow death and terrifying stabbing, but in amongst the teary friends talking about how they miss him still every day it was just really really horrible to hear- and really I found it all too personal. Like, this was stuff we the public don't need to know and really, you shouldn't be telling us, it is very private and personal. It was the attitude in which she told it, like it was all about her, she was the same selfish shallow cow he married first time around just from the other side of the planet.
No wonder he had these close relationships with men- men who were so sad to be without him, no wonder you got the idea from the film that he was gay, all the women in his life were so fucking awful!!
I felt saddened to know he hadn't known any nice women and it made me feel such sympathy for Paul McCartney having lost lovely Linda and married that bitch having obviously only known nice birds and thinking that's what women are, anyway, this new one seems nice, I hope he'll be ok.