Tuesday, 31 August 2010
As the summer holidays end - and the opportunity to watch multiple films on the same day I realise that I have managed to watch a bunch of films I had sitting on the shelf for a long time. The Shane Meadows films, some Pedro Almodovar and a few of the David Leans! I hope it continues and, with the nice quirky-ness of Blithe Spirit it puts me in a good place to continue the boxset. The film is a small scale Noel Coward play adaptation that, interestingly enough, had premiered recently on the West End shortly before David Lean and Coward worked together for the first time on In Which We Serve. As far as play adaptations go, this is one that clearly utilised the trickery-of-cinema to amp up the comedy and spooky-spirit tone of the play...
Its a strange set-up, Mr Condomine (Rex Harrison) conducts a seance with his wife and a couple of
Having garnered positive praise from the English press - a five-star review in Empire - Twenty Four Seven managed to pick up a bunch of awards. This small-scale, rugged Nottingham-based film was the real starting point for Shane Meadows. Though Shane Meadows has directed Small Time one year prior, Twenty Four Seven was what placed him in the public spectrum and got him the clout to then move onto A Room For Romeo Brass two years later. He cast Bob Hoskins as the lead actor alongside well-known Brit-Actor Frank Harper - whilst the majority of the young lads were up-and-coming actors - who'd have thought that after Twenty Four Seven, the actors would establish themselves in British television - such as Emmerdale, Coronation Street, The Lakes and little James Cordon became exceptionally successful with Gavin and Stacey ... but less successful with Lesbian Vampire Killers.
A Simple Story with a Complex Community
The story shows Darcy (Bob Hoskins) as a community man trying to get the tear-away youths to actually take part in something - so he sets up a boxing club. So far, so good. It is Shane Meadows writing -alongside regular collaborator Paul Fraser. His writing explores more than the rise of this boxing club -
Monday, 30 August 2010
So, to continue with a celebration of films by Shane Meadows, we move onto the film that propelled me to actually commit to this blog-a-thon of sorts. I was travelling to Birmingham to see young Richard and thought, 'Hey - I should watch another film from the Shane Meadows boxset I was given' so, with Sarah inserting the right earbud into her ear, I placed the left earbud into my own and as we travelled the Chiltern service between London and Birmingham we watched A Room For Romeo Brass. And, as previously stated, this simply confirmed how great a filmmaker Shane Meadows is...
Before Secondary School, Before Life ...
We follow Gavin (Ben Marshall) and Romeo (Andrew Shim from This is England) as they muck about as young boys do. Romeo has a broken family, whereby his Father has left his family and his Mother and sister
Sunday, 29 August 2010
All music is from the Scott Pilgrim VS The World soundtrack, available on itunes and amazon.
127 Hours and Inside Job are both available to watch on YouTube
The fantastic feedback folks are Fletch of Blog Cabins, Rachel from Rachels Reel Reviews, Luke from Flickering Myth and Mad Hatter of The Dark of the Matinee. All absolute playa's for giving us feedback and advice to improve!
Many years ago I watched Dead Man's Shoes and I can vividly remember coming away from the film and thinking that clearly it didn't take much budget to create an incredible film. This was before I knew Shane Meadows and Paddy Considine. I was fortunate enough to have the 'This is Shane Meadows' boxset bought for me as a present (thanks to The Beautiful Game? blogger Richard) after I realised - and he realised - that I may be a Shane Meadows fan - having loved Dead Man's Shoes many years ago, and hailing This is England as a British masterpiece. Put it this way, I am watching more and more Shane Meadows films and this man is a incredible filmmaker and you folk across the atlantic need to hunt him out. The less you know about this film the better and, I would advise, that you hunt the film out before reading further because - like usual - this is more an analysis of specific aspects and this film would be much better without you reading everything before watching it. But, if you are one of the lucky ones who has watched this film - keep going...
A Western in the Midlands
When I watched this recently, a close friend noted that is almost a western as it introduces Richard Paddy Considine) as the 'stranger' who comes to town. If you push this logic further, you can see how the
Thursday, 26 August 2010
Fact is, lately the ol' Podomatic has shown a decrease in our listeners and, with the goal of continuing to expand our listeners and become a larger community, we need to become reflective on our podcast and think of the future. When we began, shows lasted between 20 and 30 minutes ... now we have a consistent 50 minute run time (the Scream podcast was an hour!). We continue to have Sarah's opinion and we are well aware that Bangor Rep should get in on some action (He watched The Bounty Hunter - can you believe it?). The Coen Brothers odyssey has drawn to a close, whilst my Best Picture viewings continue - and the Billy Wilder viewings has begun.
So, lets throw the ball out there - in preparation for our One Year Podcastaversary - now is the time for your opinion on the show. What things have worked well - and what has not-so-much. The use of interview-clips (Megan Fox, Tiger Woods, Chris Klein, etc) - I reckon that's funny, but maybe you don't. Maybe you think it doesn't work! What about our current format? What about the amount of time we spend on film reviews - is it too long? (Normally... 10/12 mins approx for the main film). The latest episode had a change in how we discuss trailers and new releases - both Jo and I selecting one of each to recommend. Does that work? We do speak very fast - can everyone hear us? What about our discussion on trilogies - The Jason Bourne Films, Jurassic Park, Scream... ?
Any advice shall be taken on board and I'm sure, over the last year, we may have stopped doing something that was effective - or continue to do things which, ultimately, don't.
One thing I am trying to do is have an opening theme to start the show off with every week ...
Wednesday, 25 August 2010
I noticed that the Barbican are showing a bunch of early Hitchcock films including showing Blackmail with a full orchestra! Here is a very early Hitchcock movie- its obviously black and white and silent. As I said before, this film was in a [not as popular] Hitchcock boxset and, as someone who wants to be clearly aware of the history of Hitchcock it is required watching. I won't lie - for the casual film viewer these are quite clearly dated, but as a film viewer this is the type of thing which I love as it shows early 'signs' of Hitchcocks style and ideas that, to some extent, continued into his films in the future. I would like to think that as I watch more and more silent/early Hitchcock films I will draw more parrallels and come back to these posts but, currently, this is where we start and this is only my initial impression of Hitchcocks The Ring (alas, nothing to do with Gore Verbinski and Hideo Nakata)
It is merely a love-triangle story between 'one-round' Jack Sander (Brisson), his fiance Nelly played by Lilian Hall-Davis and Bob Corby (Hunter). Interestingly, the film begins at a fairground as we see Nelly on the ticket booth collecting the tickets before a fight begins, I think this is interesting because only seven years prior, the highy influential Das Cabinet of Caligari shows the sonambulist as a fairground attraction as a set-up. In a similar sense, we are teased for many minutes as we don't know what is behind the curtain and we only know what is behind the curtain as a man is 'egged-on ' by friends to go in ... he emerges shortly afterwards bloodied. Already, we have a comedic touch with an element of mystery - consistent aspects of Hitchcocks films.
The Ring also features a regular actor of Hitchcocks - no, Cary Grant and James Stewart does not feature but Clare Greet does. Greet featured in seven of Hitchcocks films beginning with The Ring and finishing with Jamaica Inn.
The title of 'The Ring' is highly appropriate as throughout the film we get many 'reasons' that determine the title - in the first instance we know that within the love-triangle is a professional boxer who Nelly falls for when he fights, in the ring. Additionally she wears a bracelet on her arm that symbolises this relationship and, finally, the marriage ring is clearly important as Jack and Nelly are engaged to be married at the start and Bob Corby is the Australian fighter who breaks them apart - and who Nelly runs away with prior to the final fight at The Royal Albert Hall.
Hitchcocks mastery of skill is shown throughout - from the epic scale of the Royal Albert Hall to the fuzzy and use of focus to show the dazed states(during boxing)/drunken perspective of the characters. It is fascinating to watch this purely for those unique little indications that led to the future of Hitchcocks career.
Ever since The Hurt Locker, so many film-friends always follow up the conversation with "yeah, but have you seen Point Break or Near Dark, because they are great films too!". Unfortunatly, prior to watching Near Dark I had not seen any Kathyrn Bigelow films, except The Hurt Locker. I know this was vampires and I could tell it was very eighties, but - it turns out - as the cult-favourite that it is, it actually has alot more interesting depth to it than the tag "eighties vampire film" leads you to believe ...
A New Take on a Specific Genre ...
As a vampire film, you could easily assume certain specific features: Gothic fairytale, vampires that turn into bats, Transylvania, etc. Clearly, Bigelow and Eric Red simply threw out the rule book and took the one timeless facet to the vampire genre - they live forever and they feed off the blood of others. These two simple aspects to the vampire genre have multiple layers - the literal feeding-off from society, the
First up, following a question to the Mad Hatter, The Film Cynics discussed on their podcast the organised life of a film fan. I'm sure we're not all like this - but I sure am. Alphabetised Collections, absolute joy as you mount up each pile according to their director, only to place them back into the shelves. For the record, if you organise by director, the directors are in alphabetical order and, within that directors films, it is organised chronoligically. I think that is what is so satisfying about organisation-by-director. Ironically, it was M. Night Shayamalan which promopted the entire sitituation and, as much as I support Steve's love for Unbreakable, as I have said many times, I personally heart The Village. I additionally own all of Shyamalan's films (The Happening on blu-ray!) and, I would never move Shyamalan amongst the Carnahans and Tony Scotts. Shaymalan would have an entire room - with James Newton-Howards awesome scores alongside each film - if I could do such a thing.
Having started my own overview of Spielberg, I have been interested in the coverage by Trevor Hogg at flickering myth. He has created a much better informed version of an overview of Spielbergs career. I think I might stall my own one for a few months (until I have watched Always for one) because I can now go back to some analysis of other films. To top it off, only a few days ago, the website posted the full 25-minute short of Spielberg's award-winning short - Amblin'. Any film fanatic must watch this!
Finally, a blog I have tried to follow for a long time is fandango - a fellow Brit-Blogger - who managed to watch Gainsbourg and review it.
Sunday, 22 August 2010
A slight shuffle to the usual podcast to keep it fresh and exciting as we move into the news, the feedback and shoutouts and then the Top London Box-Office. Simon and Jo both choose their recommended new releases and recommendation trailers - namely Love and Other Drugs and Black Swan.
We finish by continuing with Billy Wilder Odyssey by watching Sunset Boulevard and the best Picture Odyssey by harking back to 1982 with Richard Attenboroughs Gandhi.
All music is from The Expendables, available through itunes, whilst the final track is, obviously, Thin Lizzy: The Boys Are Back.
Wednesday, 18 August 2010
I am ploughing through the David Lean collection I have mentioned many times before - this is the first collaboration between Noel Coward and David Lean - and the success, no doubt, determined the future. Based on the destroyer HMS Kelly, In Which We Serve is a British Propaganda film detailing the exploits of HMS 'Torrin' led by Captain Kinross - played with all the British-delivery-of-dialogue that could be offered by Noel Coward himself. Coward, additionally, composed the music. He was already a very strong figure in the theatre scene - having only recently released Blithe Spirit on the West End.
The Story in Reverse
Akin to many modern period films, In Which We Serve utilised the advatage of non-linear story-telling, something that would be hard to produce on stage. The beginning sets us amongst the Navy on boar5d the HMS 'Torrin' as it begins attacking another ship - the ship send bombs and torpedoes and, shortly into the the sequence, Noel Coward is ordering everyone to abandon ship. As the remaining few sailors hold onto a
Monday, 16 August 2010
I watched this too late. I watched it, for the first time, Christmas 2008. This is one of those 'classic' films - "oooh, Ghost is great, oooh, Swayze is great, ooh The Righteous Brothers" and so I thought I might as well watch it - if anything for its ridicukous Oscar nomination. For Best Picture no less. [in mock shock] "oops" I may have given my opinion too early...
Its a Load of Rubbish
Lets be honest, it really isn't that good! The whole 'set-up' is a simple case of mugging-gone-wrong that ends in murder as Sam (Swayze) dies. Fact is, he knows it wasn't a mugging at all - it was murder. Funnily enough, in this day and age, the fact that the back story is about the banking profession - and 'discrepencies' in the accounts that Mr Moral Sam decides to look into personally - makes an interesting
Sunday, 15 August 2010
Kudos to Rhys Bendix Lewis for his excellent camerawork, apologies for the low level lighting. It's quite the guerilla operation.
There's the usual banter on the London Box Office, the UKs latest releases and a bit of movie news, including Brigitte Bardot coming out fighting as the Americans try to make her biopic with Jaime King.
Massive shoutout to Cinema Obsessed, a podcast and blog from two women obsessed about cinema.
Wednesday, 11 August 2010
Before I plough into the links, please ntoe that a new link has appeared on the right-hand-side ... links to podcast reviews of the films discussed on The Simon and Jo Film Show... it shall build up more and more in time ...
Sebastian at Detailed Criticism writes some advice to Batman... there should be an advice column begun: "Dear Sebastian, [in this case] my batsuit bust after a fall, I find this strange because ... Yours, Batman - Dear Batman, well ...", etc, etc.
Aiden at Cut The Crap Movie Reviews reviews The Founatain - I only watched it recently myself and, honest to god, passed up on reviewing it on the podcast because I couldn't make heads or tails of it. This review has highlighted a few ideas and clarified some bits and bobs but, as Aiden says, the final twenty minutes mixing a bunch of the stories together just blurs any understanding you may have had up until that point ... hats off to you sir at any rate, and - more importantly - to your 9/10 rating (!!!)
Finally, Mad Hatter spent a day answering questions off of his blog readers - so-o-o many questions. I won't lie, I read the post as soon as it came up but simply had no idea what I should ask, but luckily, one day later, he has a huge bunch of questions he has answered... its nice to think of all those questions he has put fellow bloggers through on his podcast are now reversed onto him!
Tuesday, 10 August 2010
The link is as follows:
Suffice to say, I only recently read a small article in the London Evening Standard about how '1 in 5 theatre-goers' are watching Inception twice at the cinema to clarify what it is about.
Personally, I feel that Shutter Island is a better film and, potentially because of all the pubicity Inception got, I am getting a little bored by those warm-colours (golds, oranges and brown...) of that hotel interior that we are continually seeing. The argument goes that, on a second viewing, you will see the gaping holes in the story and problems in the film.
I have yet to see the film a second time, though have got every intention to see it a second time in the cinema...
Monday, 9 August 2010
Spielberg, in the first instance, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio to a Jewish family. Its crazy to think that even, at a very young age, Spielberg was making 8mm films and even charged visitors to the family home whilst his sister made popcorn. A business-man as much as a filmmaker even then! At age 13, he won an award for a forty-minute short film and then at age 16, he made his first feature (Can you believe it? 16 years old!), 140-minute film called Firelight (1964). His parents divorced at a young-age - something that influences his work - and, following this, he moved to California with his Dad.
It seems ridiculous, but Spielberg was unsuccessful with getting onto a course at USC, but finally managed to get on a course at California State University. This is where it all began - as Spielberg created a 24-minute short Amblin' (1968) which was seen by a studio-producer who, employing Spielberg at the tender age of 22/23 and Spielberg dropped out of Uni in '69, to begin a contract for a television company and, thus, following some TV work he directed his first feature, for TV, based on a Robert Matheson (writer of I Am Legend amongst other novels...) book...
Sarah absolutely adores this film, and when I watched it - for the first time only recently - I realised how something so simple requires the full control of the director. He slowly builds up a tension that simply couldn't be done by someone more amateur - its a truck, nothing more, but it scares you so much. Even at this starting point, Spielberg's skill is clear - character and detail never forgotton, tension, pace and entertaiment. A perfect example of a film with little depth (could you argue it is the industrial world attacking the working man? robots taking the jobs of the working man? Hmm), simply an enjoyable ride from beginning to end.
The truck is currently in North Carolina and, for the Incredible Hulk fans, some footage from the film was used in the TV series, in an episode called Never Give a Trucker an Even Break. Nothing illegal there - as Universal owned full-rights to the footage.
"The film shows a classic Spielberg-shot (no, not the zoom-in in 'Jaws' that Hitchcock used on 'Vertigo'), but the 'Lawrence of Arabia' shot of police cars on the horizon distorting under the heat and slowly coming into focus. These cinematic treats are littered throughout the movie showing how, even at this point, Spielberg was a director to look out for. Spielberg won Best Screenplay at Cannes for this film, but ultimately - commercially - it flopped. Lets be honest - post 'Bonnie and Clyde' and 'Easy Rider', this was a bit, well, boring. There are a few parallels too - the celebrity status of the couple also evoke the Bonnie and Clyde story, which the tragic finale, though not a shootout, is i a similar vein (It is a shootout of sorts... just nowhere nears as impressive). Another production factor is John Williams score - I personally love film scores and this one I regularly listen to on a John Williams soundtrack. It has a real softness and yet catchy theme - justified no Indiana Jones - but it fits the story, showing John Williams skills as a composer even as early as this." (If you want to read the full post, click HERE)
There are flaws, a certain lack of characterisation in Goldie Hawn's character, but I am pretty sure Spielberg was aware of this because it was only one year later that Spielberg directed a different film, in the style of Duel - keeping John Williams to compose the score, Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown stayed alongside Spielberg as he adapted a novel by Peter Benchley... something called Jaws...
Sunday, 8 August 2010
Though, don't worry, this is not the only film topic. We also discuss the latest news, the London box-office and, to finish, Simon continues his Spielberg quest through watching Empire of the Sun and Amistad the not-so-hot Spielberg movies from '87 and '97, whilst Jo finally watches Inception and we discuss this.
Satan and The Lord podcast - we haven't listened to it yet, but we have been told to mention it so, c'est la vie.
Rachel from Rachels Reel Reviews wrote us an email, covering last weeks discussion of The Breakfast Club.
The terrifying Guillermo Del Toro production Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, Giametti and Hoffman in Barney's Version and Jo is excited (though Simon is not) about Burlesque...
All music has been nabbed from across the Scream soundtracks - the score by Marco Beltrami - and the big gun by Nick Cave, 'Red Right Hand'.
Friday, 6 August 2010
Secondly, I was in beautiful Bath for the last two days.
Righto - while I get the chance (I spend more time reading blgos then writing them... I guess that is the correct balance.) as I sit in internet cafe...
Mad Hatter finally watches Brief Encounter, he claims few people have seen it - I beg to differ - but it started a suprisingly interesting debate about the film between him and his wife. It truly is an incredible film.
That Happy 101 Award got picked up by a few folk - Travis at Movie Encyclopedia and Kai at The List - who wrote ten things that bring them joy.
Though I have mentioned The Kid at the Front Row (too) many times before, he watched Jurassic Park and Jaws at The Prince Charles Cinema. Jo and I were tempted to go ourselves - but we had both only seen the film in the previous month, and covered it in the Jurassic Park podcast special. Its great taht Kid reveals how great he feels Jurassic Park really is ...
That reminds me, I have to get a London Blogger Film Gathering organised ...
Monday, 2 August 2010
So ... 10 things that is ...
SHARE TEN (10) THINGS THAT BRING YOU JOY:
1) Jurassic Park and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie - if only because they bring me back to my childhood and the many, many weekends these were watched.
2) Listening to a song that gives you goosebumps - for example, an 11-minute track by Underworld that pays off nearly 6 minutes into the song... (8 Ball...)
3) Hearing kids in my class discuss art randomly in conversation - whether it be why Van Goghs work is so expensive or how they can see they have improved since they've been in my class.
4) Seeing U2 live - in fact, seeing any band I obsess about live: Radiohead, Coldplay...
5) Watching Michael Jackson perform - simply flawless. How can a human move in such a way??? How can someone have such a voice!
6) The Great White Dope said this, but I agree, with the joy found when finding those online folk who have the same obsessive interest about cinema as I.
7) Laughing so hard you are in tears - namely in one instance when a close friend and I were quoting 'The Office' and simply couldn't stop and, more recently, when David Cross performed for twenty minutes and nearly killed me... "fool me seven times - what am I? idiot of the month?"
8) A certain buzz that happens when I am walking home from work [on a good day...] and I think "Man, I'm an Art teacher, how fantastic is that??". Teachers out there - we are a part of such a great profession! A certain pride is never a bad thing.
9) Getting some positive feedback on the podcast - and realising that not everyone is sick of us ... yet ...
10) Reading some incredible news about a sequel to a film I adored. (Batman 3... Jurassic Park 4... )
Remember, you ten; in accepting this award you must all follow the rules of Sweet 101 in order to place this proudly on your site. Those two special things I did:
1) SHARE TEN (10) THINGS THAT BRING YOU JOY
2) PASS THIS AWARD ALONG TO 10 OTHER DESERVING BLOGGERS
1) Kai at The List
2) Travis at The Movie Encyclopedia
3) Nick at Random Ramblings of a Demented Doorknob
4) Scott at He Shot Cyrus (forcing him to write a post on his very-quiet-blog-but-very-busy-podcast...)
5) Richard and Jo at The Beautiful Game?
6) Rachel at Rachels Reel Reviews
7) Mike at You Talkin' To Me?
8) Vancetastic at The Audient
9) Fitz and Ben at Nevermind Pop Culture
10) Mad Hatter at The Dark of the Matinee
Sunday, 1 August 2010
The last section we devote to Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity and John Hughes' The Breakfast Club.
All music is by Serge Gainsbourg - and there are a bunch of albums available on Amazon, Play and HMV. Additionally, the final song is the classic tune from The Breakfast Club - 'Don't You Forget About Me' by Simple Minds, all together now: "ooooooooo-ooooooo-oh, woah-oooooooah..."
Yogi Bear, with Dan Ackroyd and Justin Timberlake (??), Suckerpunch the up and coming Zack Snyder 'epic' again, the five-minute trailer of Thor shown at Comic-Con and - to finish - what looks like an incredible film: Catfish...