Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Happy Leap Day Everyone

It only comes around every 4 years when the Olympics are on. As I am a Londoner and wish everyone in London good luck when it comes to July because for two weeks we'll all be in hell.

Thanks to 30 Rock and Kenneth the page we can celebrate Leap Day, so Happy Leap Day Williams to you all! Cry your eyes out for candy/sweeties and cigarettes!

(If you have no idea what this is, just type in 'Leap Day Williams' in google)

Monday, 27 February 2012

It's Not a Gangster Film, It's a Western

Last Sunday I finally went to the marvelous BFI Future Film Festival. I got to see a panel of first time indie directors talk about their films and the harsh process of making an indie film, which was useful and actually quite amusing. I got to hear a talk about indie magazines from the people who make my favourite magazine, Little White Lies. I went to a blogging workshop which was helpful, so expect a few changes to this blog in the near future. And the best part of the day was watching a preview of actor Dexter Fletcher's debut film as writer and directer, Wild Bill. Simply awesome. Both Dexter and Will Poulter, who stars in the films stayed for an excellent Q & A after the film. It was a really great day and I can't wait til next year's festival.

But more about Wild Bill I think.

Now as usual here is the poster for the film, which was only released last week. Exciting stuff. But for this poster doesn't really sell how amazing this film is. Dexter Fletcher actually said that this film isn't a gangster film, it has gangsters in it but the story is about a father and his sons. It is also a western. This poster doesn't really say that. It says this is a British film, with gangsters. But I do like the colour scheme.

Enough about the poster. This film is amazing. The story is about 'Wild' Bill (Charlie Creed-Miles), who is released from prison after 8 years. He goes back home and finds his family in shambles. His two sons, Dean (Will Poulter) and Jimmy (Sammy Williams) have been fending for themselves for the past 9 months ever since their Mum ran off with a boyfriend. Dean has been providing for them as best he can by leaving school and working with a construction crew. At first Bill doesn't want anything to do with his family but things take a turn after his past catches up with him. There is more to the story but as I said before the focus is on the father/sons relationship.

From the start you can instantly tell this is a western, the same way Brick is a detective story. Everything has been thought out, from the costume designs to the setting of the story.It has been a while since I've enjoyed a true British film. Usually they are too gritty and no heart or they are the same sort of dribble like Adulthood and so on. But Wild Bill is serious and amusing at times and it has heart. The script is brilliant, all the characters have a chance to shine and stand out and don't feel like screen fillers, everyone has an actual purpose if if they are on screen for less than 2 minutes. They create a community that is believable. The cast are amazing, especially Will Poulter who I first saw in Son of Rambow, now he's all grown up and is becoming an exceptional actor.

I think it was luck that it was on at the festival because when I first heard about it, I was desperate to see it and I will definitely be seeing this again when it is released.

Here is the trailer to give you a taster:

The Expected Oscars Rant

So, I stayed up until 4:05am to watch the awards but the links I was using to watch it kept breaking so I gave up just after Jean Dujardin won his award for Actor in a Leading Role. But the awards I missed, I heard the winners on the radio in the hazy hours of the morning, and all I could say was, of course Meryl Streep won, how dull and predictable.

Here is a link to the list of nominees and winners:

First I couldn't believe that 'Hugo' had won so many awards, but this doesn't make me want to see it anymore, I just can't believe it. I was also annoyed when Chris Rock belittled animated films, that was awful and that fact that 'Rango' won??? Is just more insane. That award should have been Tintin's, because like most people have been saying, has their really been a better animated film this year? The answer is no! I was also disappointed that The Muppets didn't perform live in stage but the awards budget stretched so they could have that pointless giant book appear on stage and as host Billy Crystal said "That's the reason why there is a buffet". But at least Bret McKenzie won for Best Original Song. I was also really pleased with the Best Supporting awards, Octavia Spencer and Christopher Plummer.

There were a few crimes at the awards, but then again there always is. First, 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' wasn't even nominated for Original Score, which was insane. Tinker Tailor Solider Spy didn't win Best Adapted Screenplay and was basically snubbed apart from nomination for Gray Oldman. But why am I surprised, the Oscars don't like British films unless they focus on the monarchy. FACT! I loved The Artist, and I think it really deserved Best Motion Picture, but as much as I loved Jean Dujardin, that Oscar should have been Gary Oldman's.

Moving on, I nearly threw up when Billy Crystal introduced "The original girl with the dragon tattoo" and I expected the original Lisbeth Salander, Noomi Rapace to walk on stage, but then an awful actress, disgusting person walked on stage instead, Angelina 'bint' Jolie. I think the Oscars need to retract that statement as it is that insulting.

My last rant/annoyance goes to Meryl Streep. She said she could hear half of America moaning she had won. Well it was 80% of the world then because she may be a good actress but this wasn't her time. She has played far better character/real people and in far better films. But that is sometimes the way, great actors/directors are nominated countless times but then they end up winning because its been too long not for the right thing.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Crossover

I have been looking for ages for a new topic to moan talk about but all I had was how annoying and nasty the job market is. Then just a few minutes ago (this morning), something landed in my lap, a story about a beloved actor/director taking a mainstream Hollywood shiz role after years of being in/making indie films. This usually happens quite quickly, you get attached to an actor, actress or director, they make amazing things then they move over to the dark side. They say its because I love the project but its always for the money. Its sad but true. Fair enough the money is good but that reputation they have taken years to build is lost in a terrible 2 hours.

I am of course, if you hadn't heard/read the news (film related news) talking about Gael Garcia Bernal. He has been announced as the new Zorro for the film, 'Zorro Reborn'. More like 'Zorro Rebooted: We Can't Be Bothered to Write Anything New. Very disappointing.

But he is not the only one. Antonio Banderas was an amazing actor in his early films, such as 'Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!', 'Matador' and 'Philadelphia'. Then he made 'The Mask of Zorro', 'Spy Kids', 'Spy Kids 2' and 'Take the Lead'.

British actors have a very bad habit of doing this. They appear in a few British films or television programmes, then suddenly they are trapped in USA appearing in random parts or background idiots. Or as a villain. This, I think, makes me the most annoyed/angry because the British are forever being typecast as the 'bad guy' or 'bad girl' or in a Rom-Com, the person is pushed aside for the other person to waltz in and win the day. But that's Hollywood.

As much as I love Tom Hiddleston and all his films, I can see him crossing over and its sad. They always say that they love England and that they'll never leave but they always do. He may be playing Loki in 'Thor' and (coming soon) 'The Avengers' but he is still playing the villain. Soon he won't be remembered for giving an amazing performance in 'The Deep Blue Sea' but for playing that hack British guy in USA Rom-Com trash bag.

Another British actor who is now lost forever is Henry Cavil. He was known as the unluckiest actor for missing out on three major roles and playing that character that was just out of frame most the time. Then he starred in The Tudors or as I like to call it 'Tudor history for Americans' (because the historical facts are ALL WRONG). From there, it all kicked off. He was in a really bad Wood Allen film and finally got cast in the cursed role as Superman. I remember when he was in 'I Capture the Castle', he played such a sad character and he was great in the role.

Its sad to think of all the actors and actress' that I admired and how many of them have crossed over or in some cases (Simon Pegg) sold out. They always say they are passionate about the project but its actually about the money. If you think about who you admire now, and they would have crossed over in the next 3-5 years.

Monday, 6 February 2012

When Bailey Met Shrimpton

Its been a week and I admit I've been neglectful, so here is a short analysis of 'We'll Taken Manhattan' which was on BBC4 a few weeks ago. The tone of it is negative which, on reflection is harsh, I actually quite enjoyed the drama and I though Aneurin Barnard was great as David Bailey. Have a read and see what you think.

It was described as a drama about the love affair between photographer David Bailey and model Jean Shrimpton. Set in 1962, the year both model and photographer traveled to New York for a Vogue fashion shoot where they managed to change the world of fashion, but only after many arguments with their fashion editor.

At first glance, this drama felt like a snap shot of a much bigger story and that it had been condensed so it was easy to watch. In the first few scenes, it was obvious that time needed to pass rapidly, so the audience could get to the main point of the story. The introductions of both David Bailey (Aneurin Barnard) and Jean Shrimpton (Karen Gillian) gave the exact impression that the audience needed to see. The generation of that time would have known all about David Bailey and Jean Shrimpton, their love affair and how they changed fashion. But it felt that this particular drama was aimed at a younger generation, who needed to be told what to think about these people, and it came across as the bare minimum. 

After the introductions, the characters felt underwritten, the story continued but the characters barely changed. Having been sold ‘an explosive love affair’ it was disappointing to watch the basic passion the two leads had for each other. The dialogue between them was dreamy and dry, it seemed as if the actors were given a few things to say and that was it but it was obvious they wanted to say more. The fact that Bailey ended his marriage over his affair with Shrimpton didn’t come across to the audience at all, meaning there was hardly any attention given to their love affair. 

In terms of story the script worked well, on the surface; girl meets photographer, fall in love, go to Manhattan, change fashion, become icons in history. For an British audience, setting a drama in the past is always going to successful and adding New York is usually a good sign too that it will have a good story. But the script rather underplays Manhattan, which is odd as it’s in the title. Landmarks are mentioned in the script as they are where the photographs were taken but there just feels like a lack of enthusiasm for the city. Culture clash is hinted at briefly in a diner when Bailey wants chips but Shrimpton has to intervene and say “He means fries, sorry we’re British”. To emphasise this ‘clash” would have brightened up the script and a metaphor. A clash of cultures as well as creative ideas between Bailey and Lady Clare. 

Whereas there are weakness’ in the characters and the location, the strengths of the script lies within the basic storyline but mainly with the interaction between Lady Clare (Helen McCrory) and David Bailey. The focus on her ideals of the past and his creative ideas of the future are riveting. The scenes where they discuss, or argue about what is best for the shoot and what the readers want feels more like the centre of the whole drama as there seems more passion in Baileys speeches about photography than there is with his romantic scenes with Shrimpton. In this instance Bailey and Lady Clare’s characters don’t seem under written, because of the passion and determination they share about fashion, it is the ultimate creative clash that should be explored in detail but within the time limit does come across to the audience as, the turning point in fashion. The script is successful with this point coming across.

Overall the weakness’ in the script such as the characters lacking depth and the location of the title being underused, out weight the strengths of the creative clash of ideas within the script. It is a good period piece set in the 60’s and is a great example, even though it feels brief, of an icon changing an industry for the better.