2 Sep 2012

Dir: Jim Henson
Production: 1986, UK
Cast: David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly, Toby Froud
101mins
 


"Dance magic dance. Jump magic jump. Put that baby's put a spell on me" 


It’s so bad, how could I not post a short review. This film was screened as part of Bowiefest, at London’s ICA – celebrating 40 years of David Bowie’s work in film.

In brief: 15-year-old Sarah is left home alone by her parents and she has to babysit her little half-brother Toby. However, Sarah accidentally wishes Toby away to the Goblin King Jareth (David Bowie), who brings him to his castle in the middle of a Labyrinth. The Labyrinth is a fantasy world filled with goblins, ghouls and wrong turns at every step. Sarah has to rescue Toby before midnight (within 13 hours), or the baby will became a goblin. Like all good fantasy stories, the ending has a very predictable ending. 

I originally saw this film as a kid, so it was interesting to revisit this now in my more mature years. Lets just say, it’s not how I remember it, but somehow also a cult classic. 

The acting is terrible. Sarah seems to have one permanent facial expression through the film. As for Bowie, well it’s about THAT codpiece and not much else. There is a lot of energy to the film, mainly channelled through THAT codpiece but it didn’t put a spell on me. The songs are beyond cheesy and the surrounding soundtrack is a mix of classic late 80’s electro.

On a positive note the puppetry is excellent, that only of a Henson production team could achieve. Goblins and ghouls vary in size and character, adding the much needed dynamics to the film. I did get the feeling that the production team had more fun making the film, than the audience watching it! 


By the end of the film, the conversation turned to whether this film was intended for children or adults? There is some serious sexual undertones between Sarah and Jareth during the ballroom scene. Or is it just trying to please everyone – maybe trying too hard, you can be the judge. 

Trailer: "The excitement of David Bowie"

 

1 Nov 2011

Dir: Joanna Hogg
Production: 2008, UK
Cast: Kathryn Worth, Tom Hiddleston, Mary Roscoe, David Rintoul, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Harry Kershaw, Michael Hadley, Emma Hiddleston
110mins



During a sticky patch in her marriage, forty-something Anna spends a summer holiday with her friends Verena and George at their Tuscan villa. Rather than spend her time in the company of the adults, she hangs out with the couple's teenaged children and their cousin Oakley. Anna goes skinny-dipping and sight-seeing, spending hours specifically talking to Oakley. Anna takes a liking to the attractive Oakley, flirting and passing affirmative compliments his way. When the youngsters prang a borrowed car and Anna tells George how it happened, causing a huge scene with his elder son, the kids turn against her.


4 Sep 2011


To study the cinema: what an absurd idea! 
Christian Metz 

Of course, Metz is wrong and to prove this for the whole month of September, thanks to the good folks of television land, you can immerse yourself in two exceptional programming masterpieces. 

The Story of Film: An Odyssey 
First up is a 15-part series from award-winning film-maker Mark Cousins. Each episode explores a specific era, starting from 1920 and the silent films. Cousins will be your worldwide guided tour of the greatest movies ever made and tells the story of international cinema through the history of cinematic innovation. 

Tune in to More4 every Saturday evening from 9pm, or watch online

There’s also an interactive timeline that allows you to explore the various milestones that the series will explore during each episode.

And if that wasn’t enough, you can also watch a few of Cousins suggested films on Film4 – highlights include Battleship Potemkin, A Matter of Life and Death, Death of Mr Lazarescu.

The Reel History of Britain 
The BBC series The Reel History of Britain explores life in 20th century Britain, using fascinating films preserved by the BFI National Archive and other public film archives around the UK. The series programmes screen every weekday on BBC2 at 6:30pm from Monday 5 September, and will be available on the BBC iPlayer. Full details are available on the BFI's website.

As Noel Carroll stated “…film had to legitimise its place in our culture. And the way that it initially set about getting itself taken seriously was to prove that it was an art...” 

Hopefully these two epic programmes will, not only add to the vast and growing expanse of publicly available cinematic material, but also provide artistic stimulation for all. 

As always, I’d love to know your thoughts, comments, and outrages – post messages below or join me on Facebook.

22 May 2011

Dir: Lindsay Anderson
Production: 1968, USA/UK
Cast: Malcolm McDowell, David Wood, Richard Warwick, Christine Noonan, Robert Swann
111mins




What was your school like? Did it have an armoury? Did it have a guy dressed in a ‘Richard the lion heart’ slash ‘Knight of the round table’ outfit? Or what about a neurotic ex-army general as a teacher? Fortunately for Mick Travis – our anti hero of sorts – has got it all and more.

In an indictment of the British boys school, we follow Mick (Malcolm McDowell) and his friends through a series of indignities and occasionally abuse. Mick is one of three non-conformist boys among the returning class. They are watched and persecuted by the "Whips", senior boys given authority as prefects over juniors. The prefects are entitled to the services of "Scum", who are first-year boys assigned to run errands, make tea and generally act as unpaid servants. When Mick and his friends rebel, violently, the catch phrase, "which side would you be on" becomes quite stark.


13 May 2011

Well, maybe not quite yet, so the 35th edition of Little White Lies will have to do in the mean time.

Here’s some cover shots – it’s shiny!






"I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory. Someday this war's gonna end..."

Apocalypse Now is showing at the BFI Southbank from 27 May until 9 June. Here’s a trailer to wet your appetite.

5 May 2011

Dir: Christopher Nolan
Production: 2010, USA
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page
148mins




Christopher Nolan new sci-fi drama bends the divide between reality and dreamscape so far that you’ll be perplexed as to whether the whole film was a dream or not. Nolan forces us to ask question such as when is a dream not a dream? When does a dream become reality? Have you ever been awaken to the sound of the song entitled non, je ne regret rien? No me neither.

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious. Cobb's rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved.


3 May 2011

Dir: Blake Edwards
Production: 1961, USA
Cats: Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard
114mins


 

So here how I’d sum up Breakfast at Tiff’s - “Divine daaahrling, simply divine” followed by a crooning rendition of Moon river, wider than a mile / I'm crossing you in style some day.

Paul Varjak
“I don't think I've ever drunk champagne before breakfast before. With breakfast on several occasions, but never before, before.”


1 May 2011

Dir: Joel Coen
Production: 1995, USA/UK
Cast: Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, Steve Buscerni, Harve Presnell, Peter Stormare
98mins


“ya, ya”

Jerry Lundegaard, a used car salesman, is in a financial jam and out of desperation comes up with a plan to hire someone to kidnap his wife and demand ransom from her wealthy father. Jerry, who is not the most astute of individuals, hires a couple of real losers from the frozen northern reaches of Fargo, North Dakota for the job. 

29 Apr 2011

Dir: Tom Hooper
Production: 2010, UK / Australia
Cast: Colin Firth, Geoffery Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, Timothy Spall, Derek Jacobi
118mins




Pomp and circumstance. Ceremony and prestige. Royal duty and a sense of respect. These are the words that sprang to mind from watching the true story of King George VI and his fight against a stutter.

After his brother (Guy Pearce) abdicates, George ('Bertie') reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a dreaded stammer and considered unfit to be king, Bertie engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue. Through a set of unexpected techniques, and as a result of an unlikely friendship, Bertie is able to find his voice and boldly lead the country through war.


25 Apr 2011

Dir: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Production: 2010, USA
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Hailee Steinfeld
110mins

“The wicked flee where none pursueth”.

The latest film from the Coen brothers doesn’t disappoint, rather unsurprisingly. Their take on Charles Portis’s 1968 novel is a bold, new style western. It’s a long way away from the likes of John Wayne films of yesteryear, where cowboys fight amongst themselves and the only Indian’s are either traders or exhibits in a slideshow.

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"...film for us was just a great escape; for an hour-and-a-half you could just sit down and forget about your own life and live a parallel life in a parallel world completely different from your own"
Pedro Almodovar

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