Sunday, 10 July 2016

She Likes Movies

I've been talking about this for far too long and I feel the groans around the room whenever I talk about it, write about it and Tweet about it. I have finally renamed my blog, She Likes Movies.

Like most things I do that seem to take off, they all begin with or as a joke, Ever So Ethnically Confused was no exception. It was a blog I started to document my progress and then completion of my dissertation and a way to update on the shooting and editing of my final year film. After graduation I branched out and write more about myself, with the occasional fictional story thrown in as well as my day to day thoughts. The usual thing to happen on a blog.

After 6 years of blogging it was high time I changed the name. Ever So Ethnically Confused doesn't exactly scream 'film blogger' and I have, over the last few years honed in on my thoughts on film and my obsession for film and TV. From now on, film and TV is what I will be concentrating on, maybe with a few more serious posts too.

I will still be adding and changing bits and pieces but this is now the official home of my film and TV thoughts, rants and adventures. Thank you to all those have commented on my posts and those who stopped by to read my ramblings. A new era is beginning in the least dramatic way, just the way it should be right?

I hope I can tempt any readers out there to follow me to my new blog, She Like Movies.

Monday, 4 July 2016

June Watch List

Love & Friendship
Based on Jane Austen’s short epistolary novel, Lady Susan, the story follows the lady in question as she imposes herself onto her brother-in-law’s family and tries to force her daughter into marrying a man who isn’t the most intelligent of fellows. Lady Susan, played by an excellent Kate Beckinsale, manipulates, lies, cheats and justifies her way through this brilliantly told story. Quite unlike Austin’s other stories as the protagonist is very entertaining but is actually an awful person. She invites herself to her to stay with family who know of her reputation after she has an affair with a married man and is forced to leave. Then she makes the rather na├»ve Reginald DeCourcy fall in love with her but then breaks his heart to cover up her own lies. It’s Austen so it sorts itself out in the end. I actually laughed out loud at this and really enjoyed a cast that I hadn’t seen before or not in an age. If only all Austen stories could be and feel this unspoiled by countless versions.  4/5

Bullets Over Broadway
I think, without realising it, I'm slowly going through Woody Allen's film catalogue. I know he's probably lost a lot of fans in the light of his son speaking out. I do not agree with Allen as a person as that's despicable but I can separate the films from the man.

No Allen in this one (which I'm thankful for) but in his place, John Cusack (who I love for some reason) is the passionate playwright in desperate need of funding his new play. In order to get these funds, he agrees to cast a well known gangster's high pitched wannabe actress girlfriend. Quiet (and sometimes loud) chaos ensues in each rehearsals as egos clash, Jim Broadbent eats, ideas are exchanges and bullets are fired. All set in 1920s on Broadway - which for me is brilliant. I loved Midnight in Paris for 1920s segments and having a whole film in that era was a dream. Also what was refreshing was that there was no young girl getting with an older man. But there were a couple of ridiculous scenes about the idea of art and love blah. Can't win them all. 3/5

The Nice Guys
When I think of a great detective story in recent years, I do think of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Shane Black's 2005 film. I'm a sucker for a murder mystery/detective story. KKBB also had an unusual pairing but it worked, as does Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. In fact, these two are a brilliant combo and are hilarious together. Set in the 70s centered around a missing girl who may or may not be connected to something bigger and more sinister as everyone involoved in a certain porn film is murdered. P.I Holland March and 'fixer' Jackson Healy are on the case with the help of Holland's pre-teen daughter. I really enjoyed the film and cannot understand the negativity its received. 4/5

Child 44
Sometimes I watch a film with Tom Hardy in it and I think he's a genius, other times I can't understand what he's saying, other times I question his popularity. Child 44 is a cross between all three. The plot is all over the place which I was surprised by as it based a the novel by Tom Rob Smith. I read his book The Farm last year, brilliant book. But Child 44 lost me at places despite having a truly brilliant cast. There is sinister serial killer who kills young boys leaving them naked and bruised by the railway tracks. Hardy and his wife Noomi Rapace are wrongly accused of being traitors and sent to live in a hell hole. There is side story between the couple about she was scared of his because he was in the army. It does move all over the place but it gets interesting when they stick to the murder cases. 3/5

Mystic Pizza
It was about time I saw this film. It popped up on my Netflix one lazy Sunday afternoon, the perfect time. As far as 'coming-of-age' films go, this wasn't too bad. Two sisters and their friend all work at the local pizza place, they all have dreams and desires and the film just goes along smoothly. There is love, heartache and a questionable amount of lobsters stuffed in a fridge. 3/5

Anatomy of a Murder
Considered a classic, directed by Otto Preminger and starring James Stewart as the lawyer who defends the future Jackie Treehorn (Lebowski fans will get this), Ben Gazzara, for murdering his wife's rapist. The main part of the film was set in the courtroom as the lawyers constantly argue while the calm judge politely asks them to just ask the questions. Even though it was made in 1959 the case feel all too familiar and could have easily been a case from the present. The case takes twists and turns and I can't help but think how gad damn awful these trials are. A woman is always accused of being the cause of rape and it make me sick. This aside, its a very good film. 3/5

My friend asked if I wanted to this at BFI a few weeks ago and all I saw was men on skates and the words ‘futuristic’. It looked like a more dangerous version of Roller Derby but in the future and 3 players were on bikes. The film was introduced by Jason Isaacs (aka Lucious Malfoy) who talked so passionately about the film and the star, James Caan who he was said was coming to end of his career at this time. But we all know James Caan still makes movies now. I think he meant his ‘star’ was fading. This mirrors his character, Jonathan E, the captain and longest playing Rollerball player. Most players are killed or injured so dramatically they have to stop. But now he has asked to retire from the game by the ‘management’. The world is run by corporations and everyone that is not management has to abide by their rules. Jonathan’s wife was even forced to leave him at the request of the ‘management’. But Jonathan refuses to give up. The games that we see in the film are brilliant, my favourites scenes. The stories away from the arena or track are dull and quite confusing. The film takes place in the future but it just looks like the 70s with a few odd buildings and technology. The fast paced game scenes pick up the pace of the film and where looks are exchanged, there seems to be more said here than in the non-game scenes. Said to be a cult film then and now, I can understand why, it’s a strange film that I think given another release would find a whole new audience now. 3/5

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: High School Reunion

The best double bill I saw at the cinema was Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion with Grosse Point Blank. I still have the poster I took from the wall at Prince Charles Cinema. Apart from these two film - which I'm guessing will be popular this week - I found it difficult to think of other film with specifically high school reunions.

Don't forget to check out what Wandering Through the Shelves picked, the blog that started Thursday Movie Picks.

Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion
I think I might have said this already but Romy and Michelle is a film I could literally watch back to back. During Uni my friend and I would ALWAYS watch this film when it was just the two of us and once we did indeed watch it twice in a row. If you don't know the story, its about two ditzy blondes who go to their reunion where they weren't exactly popular. They decide to lie about their lives and claim they invented post-its. Its hilarious as well as just being a great film, full of quote-able lines and memorable outfits and THAT dance routine. Time after time, I'll always come back to this.

Grosse Point Blank
I could say the same about this film too. I will always go back John Cusack's Martain Blank, a hitman who decides to retire. Before he does though, he goes back to his home town and his reunion. He left 10 years previous on Prom Night without a word, breaking the love of his life's heart, Debi, Minnie Driver. As well as being followed by two NSA agents, he also being pursued by Dan Aykroyd's Grocer, another hired gun who wants Blank to join his assassin's union. Great cast, such a typical 90s film and I just love (most) hitman stories and John Cusack.

Young Adult
Ghost writer for a once popular series of book about high school, goes back to her home town for a reunion. She was the Prom Queen and in her mind she is still is. While everyone else has grown up, she hasn't and she thinks she can win back her old boyfriend. It doesn't go well. She is a total bitch and its hard to watch a film where the lead is awful and you can't root for them. Charlize Theron is at her worst here, meaning the character but she does a fantastic job of making us all hate her.

Edinburgh Film Festival: Slash

As director, Clay Liford mentioned before the film began, Slash is a coming of age film as most indie movies are, but this is different.

Slash caught my eye in the festival programme and it was lucky that it happened to be on while I was there. Set in the world of fan fiction writing as well as the act

ual fictional world that Neil, has immersed himself into. A loner at school, going almost unnoticed until, Julia, slightly older and rebellious find his work. She is also an fan fic writer and encourages Neil to publish his work. The two writers grow closer but as with all teens, things are complicated as they are still figuring things out. Neil is definitely bi-curious, conflicted about his feeling for Julia and his attraction to men. It especially shows in his writing.

Neil write about a fake famous character in the sci-fi world, Vanguard and uses his stories as a way of exploring his sexuality. Julia write about another fictional character, an elf, even going as far as dressing up as the character. She seems to write to prove something to herself. These two form a bond that is both endearing and dangerous, but then, that's most things when you're a teenager.

What great about this film is that there is no clear ending, suggesting that both Neil and Julia are still deciding who they are. It's positive and different to most films in this genre.

I thought I knew what fan fiction was, but this film actually cleared a few things up for me. I've read a few stories about various characters, gad knows I've read some FitzSimmons stories. I feel it is something I can read but not join in on. The film reminded me of Jared and Jerusha Hess' Gentlemen Broncos, also set in the world of writing, also about a young writer who has his science fiction novel stolen by a famous sci-fi author. The similarities are with the obvious young writer and the coming-of age experiences but is the writing coming to life that connects these two. We get to see Bronco, both versions of him, trying to complete his mission. In Slash, we see the established character, Vanguard, play out Neil's stories. This adds something extra to the 'coming-of-age' theme and immediately immerses you into Neil's universe.

I really enjoyed the film and it was even better to listen to the director talk about the film. Hoping that it gets a release in the UK but I'n not expecting a large audience which would be a shame. I think there are some sceptics out there who would warm up to fan fic writing. 

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Blind Spot Series: Local Hero

Not the most quoted film on my list or the most talked about BUT it is a classic British film that is on the Film 4 list of classics.

American oil company representative 'Mac' MacIntyre (Peter Riegert) is chosen to go to negotiate a deal to buy a small village on the west coast of Scotland and the surrounding areas to make way for a refinery. Upon arrival in Scotland, he teams up with local representative Danny (a very young Peter Capaldi) for the trip. The village is small and the locals seem content with their ways, doubling up on jobs, congregating the same pub every evening. Despite this, they are all keen to sell their properties. While the locals take their time with negotiating, Mac becomes more at peace and happier than he was in Houston. He calls Felix Happer (Burt Lancaster), the owner of the oil company everyday as requested with updates on the sky and stars. Negotiating comes to a halt when Ben Knox, who resides on a the beach, doesn't want to move but as he actually owns the beach, Mac and the locals can't do anything. Happer arrives, wanting to see the village and becomes so enamored with the beautiful location, decides not to have the refinery there but instead make it a research site. Mac is asked to return to Houston to look for another location and reluctantly leaves.

Described as a comedy drama, but more of a quiet culture clash. There are no 'big' scenes or an 'epic' moment. The film takes us on a journey without hardly moving (not counting the flight from Houston to Aberdeen) and lets us as well as Mac indulge in the little pleasures in live, such as looking up and seeing the Northern Lights, collecting shells and making phone calls from an old red phone box.

Bill Forsyth won the BAFTA for Best Direction in 1983 for the film, which beat Tootsie and The King of Comedy. It's rather pleasing to see a British film win the prize. It also seems that those other films were not the same tone.

What could have been a confrontational subject for the film was in fact an entire story about reflection. Happer is obsessed with the stars and encourages Mac, who starts out as a typical sales guy, to look up and observe. He gets excited when he sees the Northern Lights for the first time but the locals, who also seem quite happy where they are, have seen them many times before. As soon as Happer lands on the beach, firstly to talk Ben into agreeing to sell his land, is changed too. The village and location have an usual power, it changes those haven't seen a land like this before. This might not be what Forsyth intended but its what I took away from it.

To see where it all started and for an excellent insight to film, have a look at The Matinee and have a look HERE for more Blind Spot posts from other bloggers.