Sunday, 7 March 2010

The Simon and Jo Film Show: 07/03/2010

This week we begin under Waterloo Bridge on Leak Street - an authorised Graffiti area - where Banksy is screening his debut film: Exit Through The Gift Shop.

We then discuss the new releases and Top 5 UK Box office alongside reviewing Barbarella and Clint Eastwood's 1992 Western Best Picture Unforgiven.

To finish we place bets on the winners at the Oscars and consider the trailers for The Runaways, After. Life and - what looks like - a landmark Disney Documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty.

Blogs Mentioned:
The letter-guessing game from hell on Blog Cabins
Mad Hatter and his blogs and podcasts on The Dark of the Matinee

Music is from Barbarella.


  1. You mentioned being intrigued by the graffiti scene when talking about Banksy. When I was younger I was relatively close to the ‘West Yorkshire Hip-Hop scene’ if it could be so described. During these hazy years at numerous house parties there was frequently a video called Dirty Handz being played. I was invariably somewhat inebriated via various chemicals and the such, but I remember it to be a very well put together, grimey display of the Paris Graffiti scene. Well worth checking out. Haven’t checked this link but apparently it has the whole film.
    Dirty Handz

  2. Great Episode lads - especially loved the UNFORGIVEN discussion as its one of my all time faves.

    Now then, thank you SO much for the mention! I'm still amazed anyone is actually listening to my podcasts, let alone passing on the word. I owe ya one

    (Though for what it's worth, I'm Canadian not American)

    As for Jo not liking ONCE, you'll have to pardon my ignorance, but what is it about the movie that rubs him the worng way? Admittedly it's a low-boil story, but there's still a lot to enjoy about it.

    Finally the difference between music films and musicals...

    A music film is one where the music is incidental (more often than not it centres around some singer or band). Songs are usually stage performance pieces. Think THE COMMITMENTS, ALMOST FAMOUS, 8 MILE.

    A musical has the characters spontaneously break out into song and dance to further the story and express emotions. More often than not, there is dancing too. Think WEST SIDE STORY, RENT, MOULIN ROUGE!, and yes DREAMGIRLS.

    It's a subtle difference...but trust me - to people who don't care for musicals, the difference is huge!

    Keep up the great work, and look out for a mention during Episode 9 of The Matineecast.

  3. Destroy,

    I began watching the Dirty Handz video (gota have the time!) and it does look alright. Banksy is always credited with being the street-art guy but he is probably the onyl one who has made money off of it. Bit of a sellout methinks.


    Dreamgirls has the majority of songs as performance pieces akin to the stage-only musical Jersey Boys. Yes, one or two songs are sporadic - but in, say, Once - when she is walking to the shop and putting his words to music - clearly thats not actually happening and akin to breaking out in song ...

    The musical biopics are difficult to define methinks.

    Apologies for the geographical mix-up... these blogs should have big-ass maps to clarify where people are from.

    And with regard to your podcast, its a slow-burning process and if you think about, Mad Hatter, you only tuned in last week for the first time ... our 21st recording! For me, its going to be slow if I'm not paying for advertising and I'd like to think that when people find us, they stick with us - so I just hope we haven't lost listeners...

  4. I don't think you've lost any yet. The good thing about me showing up at episode 21 (My lucky number as it happens), is I have 20 episodes worth of back episodes to soak up at my own pace!

    ONCE is such a difficult one to nail down. On many levels it's a straight-up music film (songs slowly coming into trying to make it...), but in some ways it feels like a musical too. Certainly in the way that songs like "Falling Slowly" and "If You Want Me" seem to express what the characters are feeling at those moments in the story.

    As for DREAMGIRLS, you're right, most of the numbers do happen on stage. However, it can earn the musical title just for a number like "Steppin' to The Bad Side" alone. Then thre's the pesky fact that it's an adaptation of a Broadway show.

    PS - You never did mention why Jo hates ONCE so much?

  5. Rhys Bendix-Lewis14 March, 2010 16:07

    Hi guys,

    I've been running a week behind the last few episodes but I've finally caught up. These podcasts are really turning into something special.

    Jo, you really need to watch Gran Torino again. I personally agree with the French critics that it's one of the best films from last year – funny, moving, profound. Eastwood is a wonderful filmmaker, and I feel privileged to exist in an era when I can look forward to a new release from him so often.

    I think why Eastwood goes down so well with the French is that they respect genre and the auteur. Like Shyamalan, who the French also seem to adore, Eastwood has an individual voice, yet he works in very historical genres. Even with a film like Changeling, that is made up of so many genres, each one is very defined and very well done.

    Shyamalan and Eastwood, though there is much to set them apart, are both old fashioned style filmmakers, making films with strong moral or spiritual components, who feel very much out of place with today's bombastic filmmaking culture. I for one am grateful for that.

    A great double feature would be Unbreakable followed by Gran Torino.

  6. So now have to defend my attacks on no less then TWO awful films. And so to it...

    Firstly on the subject of Once, Mad Hatter (if that is your real name). Frankly I found the whole production amateurish. I see that the point is that it was made for next to no money with inexperienced actors (dare I say real people...) who, it has been suggested, bring a rough charm to romantic material. Personally I found the performances stilted, the man has a look of constant fear and delivers his lines in accordingly, in a horrible monotone with no feeling or variety. The woman is vague to the point it occasionally feels like she's not even in the film and their relationship is just boring. Scene after scene of 'I like you in that way' versus 'I like you in a different way'. Ad infinitum. Plus the songs are irritating, I found them neither catchy or emotive. As you say, it rubs me up the wrong way.

    Second and to Mr. Bendix Lewis and I'm afraid your love for Eastwood offends my face. If I'm honest I found Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby massively overrated although at least they had some occasional dramatic moments. However Gran Torino felt like a parody of a bitter old man drama without a redeeming feature in any sense of the word. I should make it absolutely clear that I've only actually seen the first twenty minutes as after the scene in the bar with the priest we had to stop, the 'Maybe So' line was simply too painful. What I saw was just Clint being grumpy with various stereotypes giving him good reason to be grumpy. Compared to the subtle beauty and horror of The White Ribbon it doesn't come close. I'm sorry to say I can't even commit to watching the minutes I didn't see, let alone the whole damn thing.

  7. @ Simon... Wow - quite the critique!

    For me it was because it had that rough "amateurish" look with inexperienced actors that it succeeds. Sure Glen looks freaked for half of the film - he's hanging around a girl he's starting to love but feels too mixed up to actually love.

    Not only this, but he actually started falling for her during the production, so there might be some genuine nerves mixed in there too.

    I ask this of fellow bloggers a lot, and now it's your turn..."watch it again". Listen to the lyrics of the songs (might help them seem less boring), and where applicable the hopeful structure of their melody (for Falling Slowly, When Your Mind's Made Up, Say It To Me Now).

    Focus too on the underlying theme behind the story..the notion that many of us go through stretches of life thinking "Once I do this, it'll all be okay"

    Whaddaya say?

  8. Woah! I like 'Once' - its Jo who has a problem with it. I even have the soundtrack because I love the music so much!

    Well see if Monsieur Jo responds ...

  9. Crap. I meant to address that to Jo.
    My bad - sorry!

  10. No apology necessary Mad Hatter, indeed it is I who must apologise to you. I'm afraid to say I cannot watch Once again, I was too bored the first time to consider giving it a second chance. That may sound a little hasty and please do not think ill of me or suspect that I am constantly dismissing films without giving them a second chance. There are actual, notable occasions where I have taken the time to rewatch a movie I intensely disliked, the classic example being Moulin Rouge which Simon harried me into seeing a second (and last) time while we were at University. And I'm afraid to report the second time I found it an even worse cacophony of nonsense.

    However at least the Moulin Rouge did have redeemable features (I am thinking in particular of the Roxanne number) whereas I can't think of a single moment or note in Once that would give me cause to watch it again. I don't mind watching inexperienced actors stumbling about a confusing situation (that's life) but I can't sit through 90 minutes of a couple of people I didn't engage with on any level saying the same thing and singing the same songs over and over.

  11. Rhys Bendix-Lewis16 March, 2010 12:37

    Jo, I really don't love Eastwood's films. If I was to have a top 20 favourite directors, he wouldn't be there. Shyamalan, Romero, P.T. Anderson – those are some of my favourites. But I really respect him as a filmmaker. I also agree with you on Mystic River. That film has a lot of problems, but also success. The first half is very strong, particularly the morning's build up to the discovery of the body. I didn't like Penn or Robins though. I wish they had focussed more on Bacon and Fishburne as the cops coming into a community from the outside. As always the Academy gave acting awards to over-the-top performances instead of subtle ones.

  12. Wowser,
    Couldn't agree more on Mystic River. Penn & Robbins- OTT and win the Oscars. Fishburne & Bacon- understated and ignored.


Copyright 2008-2015. All posts & reviews are property of Columb and should not be reproduced in whole, or in part, without express permission from the author.