Do You See
The difficult joint number eleven post.
The very placement of these two extremely problematic films will suggest cowardice to you. And you would be right. I did not want a top ten that officially had these films in it. They are both too flawed to be put in that group (not that the top ten are in any way perfect). But both of these films actively repelled me at points in their running time, and were laughably up themselves too. One features Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie pretending to be completely different DJ’s and failing. The other equally laughably suggests that it would be OK to stay in James Corden’s flat for a bit (and that you can pay for a flat in Manhattan by busking).
Those films are: GOD HELP THE GIRL and BEGIN AGAIN.
I’m Audrey Tautou, the spoon faced ingenue who everyone fell in love with in Amelie even though I was basically playing Mr Bean. But hey Mr Bean is also really big, in Europe, which is ideal for me as I am French which is also in Europe. I am here to introduce the next four films in Pete’s Top 20 films of 2014, which I hope will include one I made, and nothing by that horror Marion Coutillard who I hate as she got an Oscar and didn’t even do her own singing in La Vie On Rose. I used my own smells in the Coco Chanel movie, did I get an Oscar or even a Cesar? The French award not the dog food. Je me égare…
Thanks Audrey, and I can sadly confirm that not only are you not in the list this year, you were actually in the worst film I saw last year: Michel Gondry’s Mood Indigo – a more irritatingly twee or suffocating film I could not imagine. So instead here are some films which are much, much better:
So I saw 397 films in 2014, 156 of them in the cinema. Of those films, 148 were released in the UK in 2014 and thus would be eligible for a list of the best films of 2014. And 2014 was a year of really rather interesting films. Films, unlike music and to a lesser degree comics, are released up until the very end of the year and the vagaries of what is known as award season means that there are films released in the very last week of the year which should potentially be considered for a best of list. There is also the fact that films from the 2014 award season pretty much all came out over here in 2014. This means that sometimes a list of the best of the year will feel a little disjointed, didn’t we say everything we had to say about Dallas Buyers Club in March? Well we did so I shall say no more about it.
Anyway this leads to a list. I didn’t do a poll. I’ve never done a movie poll because on the whole on FT people are less interested in films. If there is a clamour, I’ll do a poll next year. But in the meantime I am going to run through my own personal top twenty(-one – it will make sense) over the next week or so.
I know that some of the visitors to this site ALSO watch Doctor Who. So as an experiment to see whether a) this is true and b) what sort of Doctor Who you lot like, here’s a poll on the season that finished on Saturday. I have set the bar pretty low as far as tickability goes, if you would like to be a little more stringent than “Any Good At All” you might imagine you’re giving marks out of 10 – tick ones that get 6 and over (a la the Popular year polls).
If you can’t remember which episode was which, there are reminders (spoilers!) below the cut:
This is a review (sort of) of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It is VERY FULL OF SPOILERS almost as much as it is full of FEELINGS. And it won’t make any sense if you haven’t seen it yet.
“Recently” Al Ewing and Sarah Peploe came into possession of a box set containing “18 uplifting classics” (end quote) from the cinematic oeuvre of Russ Meyer. Heedless of the consequences, they have taken it upon themselves to watch and review each of these in turn on an irregular basis. This is part eight.
DISCLAIMER DEPT: This is definitely NOT SAFE FOR WORK. There is actual porn.
I saw Theatre Of Blood for the first time tonight, at a BFI Screen Epiphanies showing (you will be unsurprised to discover it was a favourite of one of the League Of Gentlemen, Reese Sheersmith). I know this is far too late in life to watch such a delightfully well made black comedy, but I enjoyed it thoroughly with the additional frisson of having the directors family sitting behind me. For those of you who have not had the pleasure, Theatre Of Blood is a wickedly dark horror comedy where Vincent Price plays Edward Lionheart, a classical actor/manager who specialises exclusively in Shakespeare who runs foul of the 1970 London Critic Circle. Thought dead from suicide, he returns to bump each of the critics off in a suitably Shakespearian fashion. Hammy, gory and with a wonderful 70′s Who’s Who cast, it is a treat – with a delightful central premise. In particular it overcomes the biggest problem in black comedies, how to balance sympathy for the central murderer without being voyeuristically complicit. Here all we meed to know is in the opening line with Michael Hordern’s critic, a pompous ass bemoaning that his best crack against an actress had been cut from his review. These are critics, and self-satisfied ones at that, who the audience have no difficulty in agreeing deserve their fates. Price is so delicious as the lead, given an extra dimension by Diana Rigg’s devoted daughter, and the critics are so grotesque, that you worry some may escape. So you get gore, imaginative deaths, and Vincent Price delivering ten of Shakespeare’s finest roles (also a bout of fencing on trampolines!*). By the end of which you appreciate the bitter irony that you still root for Lionheart even though through these performances you know the critics were actually right. He is pretty terrible.
Being of my unoriginal, gadfly, generation, and enjoying the film thoroughly, my first thought on exiting the cinema was of a remake. If you were to do a remake, who would star?
Recently Al Ewing and Sarah Peploe came into possession of a box set containing “18 uplifting classics” (end quote) from the cinematic oeuvre of Russ Meyer. Heedless of the consequences, they have taken it upon themselves to watch and review each of these in turn on a highly irregular basis. This is part seven.
DISCLAIMER DEPT: This is probably NOT SAFE FOR WORK. Also, SPOILERS.
So the first picture of Michael Fassbender as Frank Sidebottom have appeared on the internet, and the internet is all a kerfuffle. It doesn’t look – right – they say. The eyes aren’t round, the eyebrows have been shifted from Sievey’s perma-surprise to a more reflective, even pair of brows. And real-Frank was more dapper than this movie-Frank. The body language is all off too (but this may not be a film take). Just wait til we hear his voice, possible drifting from the Irish-German lilts that are the Scylla and Charybdis of all of Fassbender’s vocal performances.
But hold on a minute. Do we want this Frank to look just like the real Frank? This is not a case of impersonation, Fassbender is playing a role.
(Apologies to Alan from whom some of the ideas here were appropriated.)
Everyone hates Mrs Brown’s Boys – right? Everyone finds it bizarre that this sitcom with a dragged up old Irish Mammy is such a big hit, and such a big hit in a post-watershed BBC1 fashion, with a spin-off celebrity gameshow in the works.
But why does “everyone”, for which read quite clearly not everyone, hate it? When discussing it people often bring up Miranda as well, another seemingly old fashioned sitcom – down to its “You Have Been Watching” tag. Other instant reasons to hate both are their laugh track (or actually live studio audience) and a breaking of the fourth wall where in both sitcoms the lead often telegraphs the laughs straight to the (present) audience.
I have seen some pretty strong invective against both, which reminds me of much of the lower level of critical discussion around pop and rock music, where the opening gambit is to use the word HATE. When people drill down on their kneejerk hate, the reason is not always easy to pinpoint. We may fall back on phrases like something being derivative, lazy or unexciting. If we are really lucky we can try to construct a straw man of offensiveness: potentially it is implicitly racist, anti-working class and there must be something that covers our overall discomfort with drag. Of course we are allowed to say “it isn’t funny” but clearly plenty of people think it is. What should say is “I didn’t find it very funny”, but that isn’t very useful critically.