Monday, 23 May 2016

May Watch List

Again, another quiet month, this time it was TV distracting me but more like I was too tired to go the cinema or it was just bad timing with the films. I've managed to watch 4 films in one weekend (3 here and Cape Fear) which seems low as I normally can get through a heck of a lot more.

The Walk
I have never screamed so much out loud at a film. Ok, that's a lie. But I was very uncomfortable during this film, especially through the eponymous walk. I don't cope well with heights in person or on a screen apparently. The film is narrated by Philippe Petit, who stands on a model of the Statue of Liberty. He addresses the audience and is intercut with the story he relates, about the famous high wire walk between the Twin Towers in 1974. Following on from the brilliant documentary, Man on Wire, the film doesn't quite live up to the amazing story its retelling. Joseph Gorden-Levit seemed like a great choice for Petit but it felt odd once on screen. The film felt like it should have a 'big deal' but I didn't feel it. This might have been due to the fact I saw it on DVD but it is mostly due to the documentary that proceeded it. 3/5

Mr Holmes
The world famous detective Sherlock Holmes is retired and has been living in the countryside for 35 years. Or has he really been hiding? Cut between Holmes, now very old and frail in his home and his bees, his last to Japan to seek out a plant to help restore his memory and his last case 35 years ago. I felt like I was misled with this film. I thought I was going to see a film about Holmes in his twilight years retell a story about his mysterious last case. But what I watched was a very anticlimactic story, that had flow thanks to the continuous jumps. There was no mystery to solve, the trip to Japan was brief and dull. Holmes' life with his bees, housekeeper and her young son was a bit more interesting but it was difficult care when being distracted by Laura Linney's shaky accent. Ian McKellen as Holmes was excellent casting but its a shame we never got to see him in action. 2/5

The words 'this film is important' get thrown around quite frequently but I feel I can say this about Mustang. It's been called a feminist film, which I agree with and it has created buzz as it was the only film directed by a woman to be nominated he Oscars this year. Five sisters who live in a remote Turkish village celebrate the end of the school year by playing the sea with classmates who happen to be boys. When they return home their lives are ruined changed forever. Their strict uncle and naive Grandmother put up bars on the windows, force the girls to wear long brown dresses and practically imprison them at home. They are given 'wife lessons' and are soon set up with arranged marriages one by one. The story is mainly told through the youngest and boldest of the sisters who desperately tries to help them all escape. Each of the sister's fate is different, with only one of them having a happy ending. Although the ending itself is not an end but there is hope. It's an amazing film, most of which I wanted to punch everyone who mistreated the sisters who were superb. I look forward to what directer Deniz Gamze Erguven does next. 5/5

X-Men: Apocalypse
I've read in some places that X-Men never got given the big fanfare that all the Marvel and DC movies had. I've also read that people think the story is outdated and seen before. There have been comments complaining that Apocalypse's costume was dated and that the story and time lines were askew. I would disagree. If we go back in time to 2000 this is sort of the starting point of the superhero film phenomenon. With this in mind, X-Men will always have a fanfare. Even if its yet another Wolverine stand alone adventure. So, its the 80s and Mystique is a hero to mutants everywhere but she doesn't like that title or the responsibility so she works in the shadows saving mutants. Magneto is trying a quiet life with his new family in Poland. Charles and Hank have the school and all seem well until the ancient mutant En Sabah Nur returns from centuries of sleep. Technically you could blame Agent Mac Taggert for causing all this, watch the film and you'll know what I mean. The X-Men band together to save the world from this crazed mutant who believes himself to be a god, but don't expect everyone to make it to the end. The great thing about X-Men is that are so many amazing and interesting mutants as well as the core group. We see the beginnings of some and there is a hope that there will be more films like this, you know, with Bryan Singer doing what he did back in 2000, but there is nothing but a Wolverine film on the horizon. I'd like to point out that Evan Peters' Quicksilver again, steals with the show and is given more to do, its the dream.

As for the things said about the film being outdated and the time line weirdness, the film is set in the 80s right? So it goes as follows as the costume design and story would work in the 80s. Everything fits together. As for the timeline, Days of Future Past thankfully erased The Last Stand nonsense, but X-Men and X2 should be intact as proved by Logan's cameo. There will always be slight changes to things with prequels but when they are this fun, who cares?  4/5

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Cape Fear vs Cape Fear

Whenever I start out planning an Original vs Remake post, I tend to pick films where I have already seen one or the other and then seek out whichever I haven't seen yet. Ages ago, I wrote a list of films with remakes and set out to watch them. Unfortunately I haven’t to suck to the list, apart from Cape Fear. I managed to find a copy of Martin Scorsese’s 1991 version online and watched that one night months ago. I have only just got round to watching the 1962 version directed by J. Lee Thompson.

Cape Fear follows convict, Max Cady, as he released from prison after an 8 year sentence. He arrives in town and immediately begins to follow lawyer, Sam Bowden and his family. Following turns to stalking and intimidation but Max maneuvers are not illegal but enough to out Sam on edge. After a few arrests, Max hires a lawyer to discredit the police department oh his arrests whilst shining a spotlight in Sam's methods. It turns out at the Sam remembers Max as he was his defense lawyer 8 years previous. But Sam, so disgusted by Max's crimes, made it so that he lost the case, now Max is out for revenge. Things escalate when Max attacks and brutally rapes a young woman (Sam colleague in the 1991 version) but the woman refuses to testify due to embarrassment and not wanting to see Max again. 

Without the police to help Sam, he hires a private detective to follow Max and also hires 3 men to beat Max up. But Max over powers them and finds out it was Sam. Max’s lawyer then threatens Sam with disbarment, but as Max has openly threatened his daughter and wife, he decides to rid the world of Max once and for all. He takes his family to their house-boat in Cape Fear and pretends to leave them, fooling Max, who has followed that they are alone. Max appears and at first threatens to rape Sam’s wife but instead goes after the teenage daughter. Sam arrives just in time and fights Max. 

In the 1962 version, Sam captures Max and it is presumed that Max goes back to prison. But, in the 1991 version, Sam manages to kill Max in a dramatic way. 

Starting backwards, the 1991 version of the film, which I saw first, was dramatic but felt dated. It felt like the film wanted to imitate the 60s, which the previous film was made in, but also was updated for the time. Danielle Bowden, the teenager is not doing well as school and is forced to take summer classes. She meets Cady as he pretends to be her drama teacher and he manages to convince her to suck his finger in a seductive manner. Leigh Bowden, Sam’s wife, works from home, she is a ‘modern woman’. The two lead male roles felt strange to me. Nick Nolte played Sam Bowden, who I found extremely uncharismatic. I really didn’t care about his opinions and what he had to say. This made it difficult to stay focused. Jessica Lange and Juliette Lewis did well to keep my attention when they were on screen though. Robert De Niro as Max Cady was quite terrifying and it wasn’t the tattoos or the greasy hair or his the way he spoke. It was his ability to flip from seemingly charming guy to raging maniac. He was also quite repulsive, which is what the character is meant to be. But at the same time, I couldn’t help but think that he was miscast like Nolte.

The 1962 version, which I wish I had seen first, felt like a worn out record that went on for too long. Gregory Peck as Sam Bowden was as uncharismatic as Nolte was which was disappointing, as I had hoped that the original film would have had more of a punch. But, Robert Mitchum was well cast as Max Cady. He was disgusting and sly and played the part so well. Although he never really became overly violent, he gave the impression, along with the music, that he had, was and could do terrible things. 

Cape Fear, to be honest, wasn't an obvious choice at first, even though both films boast an impressive cast and director.  It’s quite difficult to compare the two films as they are almost identical in how the story pans out. The differences are obviously the ending and the change of character of Lori Davis and Diane Taylor. The former was a colleague, who has a crush on Bowden and after being rejected by him, meets Cady in a bar and has sex with him. She is then violently raped and beaten and left too afraid to testify. The change from the 1962 film, where Diane is just a women Cady picks up and rapes and beats her, is that Bowden knows the victim. Cady is threatening him, showing this is what he’ll do to his wife and daughter. Both women are used as plot device to show what Cady is capable of and shaming these women for having sex with someone they hardly know. It’s a terrible device.

I expected the Scorsese film to be violent, which it was in a few scenes, but the violence that was implied and spoke of in the 1962 version was intense and had more of an effect. The endings, in both films, are when Cady hunts down the Bowdens and verbally threatens the wife and daughter before fighting it out with Sam. Neither film has the ‘Hollywood ending’ as it would not work in this story. The 1991 version has a strange conclusion with Cady dead and the family on the riverbank. The 1962 version stops abruptly, Sam gives a speech and it cuts to the family, all in blankets, in a boat being driven down the river. But it all happens in a minute, which felt rushed.

I didn’t enjoy either film to be honest and so my conclusion will be short. If I had to pick the better of the two, I would pick the 1962 Cape Fear. Robert Mitchum is a difficult act to follow and the film was cleverly constructed to make things seem far worse than what the audience were allowed to see, this had a bigger impact. I hope I haven’t stopped any one from seeing either film but this wasn’t my cup of tea.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Liebster Award 2016

I am so excited to say that I have been nominated for a Liebster Award by the awesome Katy Rochelle of OH SO GEEKY. I am really pleased to be nominated by Katy as I have been following her blog(s) since Girl Meets Cinema. Thank you so much for the nomination!

For those not in the know, this is an award bestowed upon bloggers by their fellow bloggers. When you are nominated, there are a few simple rules to follow in order to accept your award: 

1. Thank the blog who nominated you and link back to them. 
2. Nominate up to 11 other bloggers. 
3. Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you. 
4. Give the nominees 11 questions to answer on their blog when they post their nomination.


1. Fictional location you'd love to visit or live in?

This one is a given, it's Middle Earth aka New Zealand. I wouldn't live there but I have wanted to visit NZ for years. Probably since some of my family moved there in the early 90s. I have wanted to see Middle Earth for so long it feels like a never ending dream. One day I will go there. 

2. A character you'd love to have on speed dial/text to get advice when you need encouragement or help?

I am very tempted to say Liz Lemon just because I love Liz Lemon. She's probably not the best person to give advice for certain things but she's great and her hidden advice is always the best.

3. If you could save any character (movie/book/TV) from dying, would save someone? If so, who?

I think Jack could have survived at the end of Titanic so I would save him. Just think about the life he and Rose could have had together.

4. If you were a superhero, what superpower would you have?

I've thought about this and depending on different franchises I could be involved with the power would change. Mind control would be great but recently, in the wake of the Inhumans, I would choose reanimation combined with being able to cure anything with the touch of a hand as well cause pain to others. I have a character all set u in my mind already.

5. Is 42 the answer to life, the universe and everything?

It would be easier to say yes but I think there is no answer which is terrifying.

6. Describe yourself in 3 words.

Strange, unusual human

7. An actor/actresses films you always see/watch?

This is difficult as there are quite a few. Let's go with Tina Fey as I am pretty much obsessed with her. Which reminds me, I need to see Whisky Tango Foxtrot.

8. What famous person would you like to see get a biopic?

As biopics can be hit and miss, I'm not sure if I want another biopic out there. There are some people who just do not need one. I think I'd like to see a biopic of Clara Bow or Lillian Gish or Louise Brooks but instead of one person playing them, I'd like to see it like I'm Not There style, several actors portraying the same person. And it to be in black and white and tun into colour as the film ends. That's what I'd like to see, something different.

9. Favourite film to watch on a rainy day?

I don't actually have one! I have films to watch when I'm under the weather and films I watch when I'm down and films I watch to get pumped up, but rainy day its usually anything. But for this, I'll go with old faithfully, Rear Window, Hitchcock classic.

10. An actor/actress you'd love to see win an Oscar some day?

Joaquin Phoenix comes to mind but he should have won it for Walk the Link. Does it count that I'd back in time and hand him an extra Oscar that year?

11. A goal you want to achieve this year?

I made a few goals this year, luckily, I have achieved 2 so far. I would like to make a film and finish a story I have been working on. I know that's two, but even if I do one, I'll be happy.

Don't worry if you are unable to do a post, its more important that you know your blogs are amazing!

Questions for my nominees

1. From the sea of cancelled TV shows before their time, is there one you would bring back?
2. What would your autobiography be called?
3. Do you have/own any unusual collections of things?
4. Which director's films do you avoid like the plague?
5. If you owned a cinema, what type would it be and what would be the name? Eg. Drive-In, Outdoor etc
6. If money was no object, where would you live and why?
7. If you had a choice, which period in time would you want to live in? Think Midnight in Paris on this one.
8. Name an actor or actress you used to dislike but now admire.
9. What is your most prized film/TV/comic piece of memorabilia? 
10. If you were a Private Investigator in a murder mystery novel, what would be your name and the title of first case be? Be as outrageous as you wish.
11. Desert island DVDs, what are the 5 films that you would take with you?

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Back in 2012

Back in 2012 I was stuck. I had quit a terrible job in Whittards in January. Mostly due to the manager and their craziness AND they still owed me a large sum of money which they paid half of 2 years later. After this decision, which made sense at the time, I was employed for 3 months. Apart from a couple of freelance runner jobs, I didn't have much going on. It was painful. But anyone who has been in this position will understand.

I then worked at Blockbuster for 5 months. Remember that shop? It was a video then DVD and game rental shop. Half of the stores were closed when the company went through trouble, then they closed them all and tried to survive online. This didn't work. I was made redundant for the first time (there would be another) and my reward was a small sum and access to a truck load of discounted DVDs, which I fully took advantage of.

From Blockbuster to the uncomfortable and mental torture in the attic. I worked for a editor for 2 months but the less said about that the better. I freelanced at a company I really liked for 6 weeks but then came the cold Winter and plenty of free time at Christmas. 2013 arrived and to be honest, that wasn't a great year either, at least for the first 6 months.

Looking back, 2012 was probably the worst year I've ever had. It may have been the year of the London Olympics but I was not triumphant. It was the Year of the Snake and I was born in a Snake year. But I read, some time later that if it the year of your animal, you will have bad luck. You can choose to believe this or not, but reading this after it happened, I was sucked into it.

I was looking through my blog posts from the year and there were a few things that stood out. The Hobbit was one of the very few highlights that year. There was Seal of the Day posts. I seemed to write much shorter posts (might go back to that) and I talked about things other than film. The latter has stopped almost (apart from this post and Helsinki) as I'm hoping to concentrate more on film here but the odd post about something random can't hurt right?

This post was meant to be about something else.

Thursday Movie Picks: Alien Movies

There are just too many weird and wonderful films about aliens and I'm sure Alien and ET will show up on lists this week. I chose some obvious films and not so obvious ones to mix it up a bit and to stop me choosing the same films again. Don't forget to check out what Wandering Through the Shelves picked, the blog that started Thursday Movie Picks

'Game over man!' Ah Bill Paxton, that line will live on in film history. I preferred the action science fiction sequel to slower scary intense first film in the Alien franchise. I found it less scary and I could sit comfortably and enjoy it. Ripley returns, reluctantly to stop the shady Weyland-Yutani Corporation from trying again to bring an alien. Along with a group of marines, they find an almost destroyed colony, but where are the colonists? The aliens are present.

Flight of the Navigator
It might seem that MAX is a robot but he is actually an alien. He flies a spaceship AND he collects other aliens, including David from Earth. I'm sure everyone who was a child in the 80s/90s saw this wonder. After David falls down a ravine, he discovers that he has been missing for 12 years. At the same time a spaceship crashes to Earth and is picked up by NASA. Soon its discovered David and the spaceship are connected. David escapes in the ship and befriend Max, the pilot/ship itself. David wants to go back to his time but first they have to outsmart  NASA. I always remember the opening credits for this film. A dog show, lots of dogs catching Frisbees.

Little Shop of Horrors
I know this is a musical BUT its a musical about an alien in the form of a plant that lands in the one of the most unlikeliest places, a flower shop in New York city. Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene head up a great cast, about an evil man-eating plant. The original ending was similar to the Broadway musical and the old original film but Frank Oz changed it in favour of a 'happier' ending. A highlight is seeing Steve Martin play the violent sadistic dentist, the song is so catchy.