Continuing from the theme last time, I'll dive right into films I wish I never saw. My parents didn't take my sister and I to the cinema too often. I thought this was because they didn't like going but now I understand. There wasn't much on for children apart from the latest Disney which we all loved. My parents were more keen on watching films at home, which is why I think my sister and I had such a great movie education, brought up on all the classics and films they used to like.
My mum used to take us to the cinema during the holidays. My mum isn't really a big cinema fan but she took us. The summer of 1999 we saw the terrible atrocity that was Inspector Gadget. I remember not enjoying this film about a policeman who ends up in a accident and is then transformed into the gadget man and tries to stop the evil criminal Dr Claw. Ugh so dumb. I liked the song that the boy band FIVE did about Inspector Gadget more. I knew Rupert Everett and again wondered why he was in the film. Says quite a lot about me that I only recognised British actors in American films.
From the age of 7 or 8 until 18, I used to stay with my aunt and uncle for at least a week in their home in the New Forest. My Nan would also accompany me for a few years until it became too much.We used to have a routine; go for breakfast at the French cafe, swimming, Milford-on-Sea, visit the large Marks & Spencers for my Nan and go to the cinema. My aunt was and is obsessed with Harbour Lights cinema which is situated just on the water's edge in Southampton. It really is a great cinema but with only 2 screens? We saw many films there but one of the first was Star Kid. It was a similar situation to back home, not many films to choose from for children. Seen the summer before Gadget and this was film was just as bad if nor worse. We all recognise the kid from Jurassic Park right? Joseph Mazzello is now all grown up but I'm sure even he regrets this sci-fi fantasy family film. I think its about a robot suit type thing that a boy climbs into and then has powers and he has to fight this alien who is at war with the robots? (Looks at Wiki) Yeah, that's pretty much it with the added, shy kid gets confidence thing too. I didn't enjoy this film.
This is probably one of the most hated films ever. Even the cast hated it but it still got a sequel. I used to like cartoon and the comic strip AND I love Bill Murray. I begged my aunt to take me to this. She was not happy. I really enjoyed this terrible film because it was terrible. I thought Murray was hilarious and everything else was just 'ok'. I completely understand the hate for the film but at the same time I can enjoy it. I've always thought I had an affinity with Garfield. My mum used to say I was him and my sister was Odie. This is spot on.
I actually found this weeks theme difficult. I don't think I've seen many films with school competitions that don't involve sports. There are quite a few films about singing but instead I went for....
Jeffery Blitz's story about shy stutterer Hal Hefner who is roped into joining the school debate team. He tries different ways to overcome his stutter but ultimately does not succeed but he does learn a few other things along the way. This was the first film I saw Reece Thompson in, it's a shame he's not in more things.
A musical comedy about a fourteen year old hermaphrodite girl, Spork, a nickname given to her by her brother and friends. After her best friend injures their ankle, they are unable to compete in the school's Dance Off so Spork steps up ans wows the crowd. The clothes and music is all over the place which sounds like a mess but is actually really fun.
This is the second of Jeffery Blitz's film in my picks this week. I think this counts as a school competition, especially as you have to be a certain age to be able to compete. Following eight contestants in the 1999 Scripps National Spelling Bee as they try to become the number one speller. Sounds dull? Well, it may seem it, but its actually a really interesting documentary. I just can't believe this is 'a thing' as far as I'm aware we don't have these competitions in the UK.
I honestly picked this film because of its title. And it also fit in with my schedule. But the story did catch my eye too. Who doesn't love a revenge story involving twins in a library? An unusual thing to have in UK film, it's a subtitled film as it is all in Welsh. To be fair, it makes sense for a Welsh film to be written and made in Welsh. The director, Euros Lyn, said that it was not an odd decision as he speaks Welsh at home so it only seemed natural.
A thriller with basically a cast of 4 people (5 characters - twins are involved) set in one location mainly, the National Library of Wales and that takes places of one night might seem like a stretch but it fascinating to watch. I did find myself wondering how the hell it was going to end and I'm still a tad confused about a few things but despite these qualms I really enjoyed it.
Based on the book, by Fflur Dafydd’s bestseller Y Llyfgell, the story starts after the sudden and suspicious death of their famous author mother, twin sisters, Ana and Nan take matters into their own hands. Believing that their mother was murdered by her editor, they put their plan of revenge in motion. The twins both work as archivists in the National Library of Wales, which where most of the film takes place. The impressive building is in a marvelous location which makes it seem imposing and with the help of the perfect soundtrack, threatening at the same time. It isn't exactly a simple murder revenge story, there are also family secrets to dredge up at the most unfortunate time, repressed feelings and the need to be recognised. As I mentioned, the ending is slightly odd and in my opinion can be taken two ways. There are two sides to every story, different way to look at things, which is interesting and as someone in the Q&A said, 'I appreciate this'.
Not sure if the film will get a wide release outside the UK but if you are in the UK reading this, it might be worth keeping an eye out for it.
As I missed this Fandom Friday topic at the start of the month I'm sending this out instead of the podcasts one as I don't listen to podcasts.
Apart from reading in my room and getting lost in a book on the train to and from work, these are the places I like to read...
Harris + Hoole coffee shop
At my previous job I used have has at least one weekday off (office shift work ugh) so I usually, if I didn't have any urgent business, I'd sit in the coffee shop for a couple of hours. I used to go there every Tuesday when I was on my writing course as I found it the perfect place to write too. I barely get to there now as I'm back to normal work days and I'm always way too tired to get up early and head over.
The Book Room
This is a spare bedroom in my aunt and uncle's house in the New Forest and it is named The Book Room. Quite simply the room is full of books, two walls of shelves with books, mostly old copies but there are lots of childrens' books from the 60s -90s as my aunty was and is a prolific reader. I used to be able to visit for a week each Summer until Uni then it became whenever I could. I realised the other day that I actually haven't stayed there since Christmas 2014! I've spent the day but nothing longer. This is mainly to do with my terrible job I had and that my aunt and uncle have a busy schedule. I'm hoping this year I can stay for a few days at least.
Its a marvelous gigantic bookshop a short walk from Piccadilly Circus and it has 5 floors crammed full of books. The Crime & Mystery section is huge so I can easily get lost in just that one area. The downside is that you want to buy everything in sight so you need to sit down and read a bit of the pile you have in you hands. But there are only a few seats so either wait or hover for your turn. It's like library in there, so quiet and calm, its the perfect place to literally get lost among the shelves.
This is a bit of a stretch and maybe too broad, but there were so many places that were perfect reading spots. On both of my solo trips to this paradise, I found that the promenade in Penzance was peaceful enough to read and it wasn't over crowded with people. Plenty of benched to choose from and a view of the sea. The Minack Theatre was another great spot. Resembling a Greek open air theatre, it is situated on a cliff edge and not only have amazing view but is is also a full functioning theatre. Another spot was The Island in St Ives, a small headland that sticks out into the sea but there were plenty of rocks to climb onto and read for a while.
I don't come here alone that often, I'm usually enjoying it with a friend but when I do go alone, in the Summer, the view is beautiful so for me, its the perfect setting for book reading. There are many benches to sit and admire the view and there are grass-y areas too that are wonderful in the sunshine but I'm more of a wonder round then park on a bench kind of person.
Rarely have I laughed so much in the cinema. Usually there are a few laughs to be had or maybe the odd the laugh, cringe moments depending on what comedy it is. But I haven't laughed constantly at a film in an age.
Taika Waititi's latest film, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, was a brilliant film. It's been so long since I've seen a cleverly written comedy and heartfelt story in one.
Young Ricky Baker, a troublesome chubby teenager who has been moved from care home to foster home all his life is sent to live with middle aged couple Bella and Hec who live in the edge of the New Zealand bush. The former gives him the home he has been looking for as well as teaching him some unusual skills such as plucking a rabbit, shooting wild animals and the significance of a hot water bottle. Gruff moody Hec on the other hand just lives with his presence. But tragedy strikes, leaving the two guys alone, Ricky is forced to leave. Before he can be collected by the merciless welfare officer, he escapes into the bush. Soon followed by Hec. But after a few misunderstandings, Ricky and Hec are soon the victims of a nationwide manhunt with enlightening and very funny results.
I really enjoyed the film, it was such a delight. Sending you on an emotional roller coaster while genuinely laughing all the way. The characters of Ricky and Hec (an excellent Sam Neil) are an obvious odd couple but with both their obscure lives and beliefs they make an excellent team.
In some ways, the humour and the way it's pieced together reminded me of Edgar Wright's films (I think Hot Fuzz I laughed alot too) and to the odd quirky side it also reminded me of Richard Aye one's films too. This is probably why I love Waititi's films. Something new but familiar.
In any other filmmakers hands i dont think the film would have been the hit it is and hopefully will be. With every film that Taika Waititi makes, the array of stories just get better and better. I can't wait to see what he makes next.