Tag: film

Saraghina, la rumba!

It’s Friday evening at 7pm, and I have actually finished work, for a change. I am doing no work this weekend. The next several days are going to feature cute boys, arts & culture and exotic locations. Stay tuned for more news.

I would like to celebrate this situation with a clip from Fellini’s 1963 film 8 1/2.  There are many things one could say about this important film but I will be concise. One of the most memorable figures in the film is La Saraghina, a woman who lives in a hut on the beach. In exchange for a coin, she dances. She is – well, I will let you decide.

Saraghina, la rumba! La rumba!

Trainspotting 2

Whew, I’m almost caught up on the blogging. The last thing I need to tell you about right now is that I went to the cinema! I hardly ever do this unless it is something special. I went to see Trainspotting 2, here’s the trailer.

It was really amazing. The original Trainspotting was in 1996 and I went to see it when it came out. It goes without saying that it was a huge landmark in British and Scottish cinema. Coincidentally, in 1996, I was the same age as both the characters and the actors. It is a film about many things: drugs, poverty, music, despair and, most of all, being young. Then twenty years elapsed. Danny Boyle reassembled his cast and simply picked up the story of their lives, 20 years later. In the meantime, I’d been busy getting on with my own life. The actors aged up. The characters aged up. And then there they all were. Renton, Spud, Sick Boy, Francis Begbie. Large as life and completely themselves, just 20 years older, just like me. It was really emotional! There were lots of references to the original film, of course. Remember when Tommy died? Me too!! I remember it like it was yesterday. Oh god. It really packed an emotional punch. Begbie has been in prison for 20 years. Spud is still on the skag. Sick Boy is a pinch-faced pimp, extortionist and pub landlord. Renton is getting a divorce.

Even if you didn’t see the first film when it came out and aren’t going to have this amazing experience of greeting people – your friends, your youth – who you haven’t seen in 20 years, it is still a completely wonderful film. Danny Boyle has gone from strength to strength. The directing is incredibly visual and creative, the soundtrack is moving, the story is nail-biting.

I loved it. I wanted to cry. How we grow old. My date had seen the original Trainspotting but only quite recently. He couldn’t go and see it when it came out because he was four.

Audrey Rose

While being ill for a week I managed to catch up on some classic literature. I like horror and take quite an interest in it, across different media. It was inevitable, then, that Audrey Rose would eventually show up on my radar.

The novel was published in 1975. It is by Frank De Felitta and what you need to know about Frank, who sadly died in 2016, is that he was a writer, screenwriter, director and producer. Audrey Rose sold 2.5m copies and there was a film adaptation within two years, in 1977, with Frank as screenwriter and producer. It stars a young Anthony Hopkins as the disturbed Mr Hoover.

The other work that Frank De Felitta is best known for is The Entity, which immediately followed Audrey Rose, in the form of a book in 1978 and film adaptation with screenplay by Frank in 1982. What a productive guy.

I’ve just read the novel Audrey Rose. It’s about this affluent young married couple and their ten-year-old daughter. The parents, Janice and Bill Templeton, are set up as having this perfect life until their daughter Ivy starts re-living a grisly car accident that she experienced in a previous life. These episodes are triggered by the proximity of mysterious Mr Hoover who claims to be the father of a dead child, Audrey, who is inhabiting Ivy’s body.

The best bits, in my view, are the descriptions of the Templetons’ perfect marriage and life. Bill works in a swank advertising agency. Janice wears loud plaid trouser suits because she is a cool chick and it is 1975.

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They both drink whisky and martinis at the slightest provocation, all day, including and especially when at work or when at home in the mornings, doing domestic chores or perhaps caring for a sick child. They are regularly drunk and then hung over. It’s normal for Bill to arrive home from work in such a drunken condition that he has to go to bed for an hour before he can carry on drinking with his friends into the evening.

1970s-martini

They are a very cultured couple, you can tell this because they listen to opera. They are friends with this other couple who live in the same apartment building. The men compete over who has the best opera record collection, even though they are all so drunk that you wonder how much of it they are taking in. They play bridge together in the evenings and the book states quite clearly that every time they do this, the evening ends with this other couple losing their tempers, which is hilarious. Stop inviting them over, then. And maybe serve less alcohol.

Even though Janice is the slightly more sober one out of her and Bill, she is really submissive towards him. She really looks up to him. She’ll be walking along the street and the thoughts in her head concern how he has wisely and benevolently guided her towards something, or shown her how to do something, even though he is a macho knucklehead who couldn’t even stay sober for his daughter’s court case.

belongs

Oh yeah, so there’s a court case. This occupies the entire second half of the book and involves the Templetons trying make Mr Hoover go away, while Mr Hoover attempts to prove that Ivy really is the reincarnation of his daughter Audrey. The judge decides to have Ivy subjected to some completely unethical hypnotic experiments and she dies while having a fit, thus proving Mr Hoover right all along.

That’s it, really. I watched about half the film while writing this book review and I mainly want to say that in the film version there is less drinking and the fashions are less flamboyant, also there isn’t as much sex, so you should read the book instead. That said, it translates well to the big screen, as it was destined to do, and makes a competent psychological thriller with lots of suspense and not too much gore.

South Africa at the British Museum

This exhibition is on until 26 February, so you still have time to go. It was highly relevant for me because I was just in South Africa a few months ago, learning as much as possible about the country and culture.

Items in the exhibition include some very ancient artefacts but the aspects I found the most interesting were the political items from the 1980s and 90s and then the contemporary art.

I want to point out several things without writing a blog post that’s the length of a book. See how many of these things you can spot.

  • A black cherub with an AK-47 and a red nose. The red nose was made famous by British charity Comic Relief, which has been criticised for investing the money it raises in oppressive companies and industries in the countries it claims to help. Artist Johannes Phokela says: “Once I bought a red nose and it fell off when I tried to fit it on to my nose. That’s when I found out that the noses were not designed to be worn by someone with a flat nose like mine.”
  • A maid in a Victorian dress. When I was in South Africa, I saw cleaners in shops and also domestic maids wearing dresses that were not much better than this, just with knee-length instead of floor-length skirts. Sculpture by Mary Sibande.
  • A conspicuously white person absurdly inserted into a black African soap opera (Candice Breitz).
  • A sangoma (a shaman, a healer) holding a consultation (Siyazama Project).
  • Human figures with horns (Jane Alexander).
  • Steve Biko, who died in police custody (Sam Nhlengethwa).
  • A 1994 ballot paper, showing both Nelson Mandela (ANC) and F W de Klerk (National Party).
  • Black workers sleeping on a bus (David Goldblatt). Public transport is important in South Africa. When apartheid was introduced, black people were evicted from their homes and forced to relocate to designated areas which of course were in undesirable and inconvenient locations on the outskirts of cities. Therefore the cleaners and domestic workers who I mentioned above, who aren’t being paid a whole lot, are travelling very long distances for the privilege of getting to these demeaning jobs. A significant amount of their time and their money is sunk into bus travel. The workers in this picture are sleeping because they do not get adequate time for sleeping at home.

The First Day of Xmas

Awesome. We are up and running. As in previous years, I am going to record what I did over Xmas, mainly so I can remember that I had value out of the holiday the next time I’m terribly in need of some time off work. Look at this, it is dinner and a movie, I am dating myself. I am going to have 2 weeks of romantic Xmas at home with myself.

Dinner. Probably not very impressive by the standards of anyone who uses their kitchen regularly, but this might be the first meal I’ve prepared in my own kitchen since last Xmas. I had fishcakes (frozen), warm fried mushrooms and onions, and some salad with a few tomatoes. I loved it. I am excited that I actually cooked and ate at home. In a minute I am going to finish off some ice cream.

meal-21-dec-16

Movie. I just watched the first several of several films that I’ve been saving. Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016) with Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley and a generally star-studded cast including Mark Gatiss, Celia Imrie, Jerry Hall, Joan Collins, Jon Hamm, Kathy Lette and Kate Moss. It was great. It was very London, the fashions were great, it was funny.

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Gaming. I am playing Far Cry Primal (2016) on the Playstation. I am attempting to play it. I am being trampled by mammoths and accidentally lighting myself on fire.

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Film News: David Brent, Life on the Road

I absolutely cannot wait for the new film about David Brent, manager of the Wernham Hogg paper company in Slough, better known as The Office. I cannot wait. Check out this video, as we all know as well as being an office manager, Brent is an inspired singer-songwriter.

David Brent: Lady Gypsy (2016)

She laid me down on a bed of heather. She said ‘please be careful, this is what I sell’.

I said ‘you’re a hooker’. She said ‘no, I mean the heather. I sell the heather like a lucky spell’.

I said ‘but to be clear, then, the sex is free, yes?’ She said ‘yes, the sex is free. The heather’s a pound’.

I said ‘I don’t need no heather and if I did, I would just pick some. It’s free. It’s growing in the ground’.

http://www.davidbrent-movie.co.uk

david_brent

 

Warcraft: The Movie

I am so tired all the time. It’s already Saturday evening in London, so most of the weekend is gone, and all I’ve done since about 4.30 on Friday afternoon is sleep. I am really hoping that the work situation is going to ease up for a few weeks now so I can get some exercise and get my immune system a bit stronger because all I do outside of work is pass out.

ANYWAY, I departed the office on Thursday afternoon at about midday because they didn’t need me on site. I was knackered and functioning on about 4 hours of sleep as usual, so the thoughts on my mind as I trudged home were simply about how I could get through the afternoon, what emails I needed to send, etc, mental note to eat some protein.

Then I passed the cinema and the unmistakable World of Warcraft branding was front and centre on a big poster. Yea, for it had come to pass that the World of Warcraft movie had finally been released after being in production for about 10 years. I could have gone home and sent emails but it was a no brainer. I bought a ticket and saw the film. It was the first actual leisure time I’ve had for weeks if you don’t count lying down with a migraine.

It was two hours of awesome and I cannot wait for it to go on sale because apparently the director’s cut has a further 40 minutes of content.

It had very mixed reviews from the critics because it is not going to make that much sense if you are not familiar with the game (probably from years of play, there aren’t many new Warcrafters around these days). You need to be able to understand the geography (Stormwind, Ironforge, Elwynn Forest), the game lore (fel magic, the Kirin Tor, the Dark Portal) and the characters (Durotan, Draka, Gul’dan), otherwise it is a lot to take in just for the sake of some gigantic battle scenes.

If you are familiar with the game, it is really exciting! The game world is transferred to the big screen with astonishing beauty and you will get excited by the spectacular landscapes that you know so well being brought to life, not to mention important details like murlocs under a bridge. Gul’dan looks amazing and the CGI is used to its best possible effect. Just beautiful.

The story concerns the early years of Azeroth’s history when large numbers of orcs break through the Dark Portal. As a result, my one and only disappointment was that, because of the historical point of the film, no major Horde settlements have been built yet. I play Horde (obviously) and I would have died of joy to see big-screen CGI representations of Horde cities, especially Thunder Bluff, who can question its architectural splendour. I also wanted to see much more of the interior of Ironforge and of course the Blood Elf and Night Elf territories because they are sooooo pretty.

PLEASE MAKE SEQUELS. How many Harry Potter films did they make? About 8 or 9? That’s how many we need.