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Fave authors: John Banville, John Le Carre, Alan Hollinghurst, Michael Moorcock, Isaac Asimov, M. John Harrison, Tolkien, Joseph Heller, Harper Lee, Richard Adams, John Steinbeck, John Wyndham, Nevil Shute.
Fave music: Joan Armatrading, Biffy Clyro, Catfish and the bottlemen, Twenty one pilots, Glass Animals, You me at Six, Bring me the horizon, The Strypes, Bastille, Susheela Raman, Andy Sheppard, Joshua Redman, Steve Swallow, Simon Shaheen, Scout Niblett, Kate Bush, Editors, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Early Queen (inc; Smile), Kyle Eastwood, The Cure, John Barry, Philip Glass, Michael Nyman, The Who, Thin Lizzy, Talking Heads, Beethoven, Erasure, Bowie, Neil Diamond (1960's), Peggy Lee, Sinatra, Mukta, Punk Era, Furious, Mojo Kings.
Other Hobbies: Photography, Astronomy, Walking, Swimming, Gardening, Real ale, Red Wine, Writing, Drawing, Genealogy, Personal Wildlife.
Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
I always hoped they would never try a sequel to Blade Runner. Thirty five years it took to try, yet despite all the technological advancements the result is a weak, typically Hollywood spin-off.
This sequel lacks all the suspense of the original (somehow as a film lacks all suspense altogether), the whole film pivots about one question, with over two hours of talk and rather tedious eleven second shots obviously filmed on sets, I longed for the artistry of Scott and the power of his original (plus, I couldn't have that ring tone - was never a fan of Peter and the Wolf anyway).
For me it's nothing more than a simple cash-in on a classic.
Finding Dory (2016)
Dull - contrived - Cringe-worthy
The animation is fine - as is expected of modern films.
As stories go it is the worst cartoon I've seen - only lifted by the great scenes containing Hank the Octopus, but they are not enough to make a movie.
Nothing to match it's predecessor: Contrived, dull, cringe-worthy.
Les triplettes de Belleville (2003)
Animals being animals for a change.
One of the best films I've seen in a while, certainly far outshines other animation features witnessed of late.
True animal characteristics for a change.
Hugely imaginative, great entertainment, had me laughing out-loud. Three thumbs up!
PS: I've gone off frog soup.
The Selfish Giant (2013)
The two leads, as unknowns, are superb, as are all the child actors in this.
Of the adults it is clearly led by the performance of the three lead female actors (four: I should include the school receptionist). But this film has such an almost documentary feel about it you can forgive any of the acting that may feel a little strained or unnatural (perhaps because of a lacking in the script?).
There are some wonderfully emotionally funny scenes equally matched by ones of sadness. People often use words such as grim, depressing or bleak. But this is Britain as it is; which is about looking for the humour and humanity beyond the circumstance of living. If you haven't been in Britain, then you might be forgiven, if you live here then maybe you have been sheltered: This is really how life can be; but it is far more a story about a boy's journey to manhood.
As a statement on modern society then it speaks volumes to say that nothing is different now as from when it's 60's counterpart Kes was made, or for that matter in anytime in our history.
But for me it won on all levels for it's such strong sense of humanity, on Arbor's journey of discovery, which was lacking, somewhat, in Kes.
The Kings of Summer (2013)
Kings of summer on a cold winters day
You know I wasn't expecting too much and maybe that's why I thoroughly enjoyed this. It was a breath of fresh air, feel good at times certainly and also quite predictable, but if it's done well as this was, then that shouldn't matter. Some great caricatures played wonderfully by an excellent cast, right down to the food delivery man put it way above what you might expect to be just another "teen movie". It is often likened to "Stand by me" but is really far more on a par the British film Submarine, albeit lighter.
Above all it was nicely quirky, which I guess is what most appealed to me. Recommended; especially on a cold dank and dreary Novembers day.
The Avengers (2012)
On the nail
What can I say- I grew up with these guys in the 70's - being an English boy it was not so common to be reading these comics at 10 rather than Whizzer and Chips; et al, but I always loved Marvel for being more "real" (yeh I Know - these are Superheroes were talking about, I did stop collecting them by the time I was an adult - but yeh - I still got them all!).
It was a childhood dream to imagine seeing these characters in a film, but film attempts were always so lame until CGI took hold.
The X-Men (1 & 2 & 1st Class,) Spiderman (1,2 and, yes 3) Iron Man & Thor films finally met my childhood expectations. The Avengers has been the icing on the cake. The only disappointment for me is: Where are Janet, Hank, Wanda, Pietro & The Vision..will patience! Comics aside it's a great bundle of cinematic fun!
Ringing in my ears
Warfarin isn't this quick.
Seriously though...superb, frustrating, rich, imaginative, absorbing, annoying, aggravating, repulsive.
If you've got a couple of minutes spare watch it! It's a great big Hungarian soap (sorry this doesn't give it justice, I'm being superficial).
I adored those looooooonnngg takes; the outstanding cinematography.
Don't watch it if you hate the rain. Oh and try not miss the hour long torture scene....involving no one but a drunken Doctor! (Plus Cat lovers beware...I only just manged to get through that part!).
A Zed & Two Noughts (1985)
Greenaway at his finest
Greenaway at his finest, pretentious to some viewers, his film on grief and decay stayed with me for many weeks and the final flash photography with snails was a triumph.
Nyman created some wonderful pieces though neither artist quite surpasses their work on The Draughtmans contract in my humble opinion (I've yet to see The Falls), though still visually stunning this remains a sometimes darkly comic but ultimately unsettling piece - highly recommended.
I am usually eager to see Greenaway films again and again and this is no exception, but it is "talking to me" from it's first viewing 6 months hence. When my mind is finally starved of this feast and I am ready for a new perspective on it I will sit down and indulge in it again.
Just watched it, it was a sobering, tense and frustrating account. I thought the film was magnificent.
Showing us Otilia's efforts to "help" her friend shifted the focus of the story to dramatic effect, we could coldly analyse Dragut, be immersed in their plight & moved by the effects of their actions. Full of rich cinematic moments : It's political climate, The discussion of the abortion, The heart wrenching/stopping scene where she has to get rid of the foetus late at night, the Hitchockian Dinner table scene, that icy return to Dragut at the end in the restaurant. Powerful stuff.
Certainly a cold film: I feel this has added to it's emotional charge.
Finally I've seen Frenzy! My 29th Hitchcock film - yes i'm a fan.
In the past I've mentioned that whilst Hitchcock was often innovative he could also be clumsy. I believe Frenzy (along with Rebecca & Shadow of a doubt) is probably his most assured film; though I prefer The Birds and Rear Window, this is close by.
Finch & Foster are excellent but it's the female roles (much like it was in The Birds) that steal the show: Barbara Leigh-Hunt, Anna Massey, Viven Merchant, Billie Whitelaw & Jean Marsh are all very strong (with great support from Alec McCowen, Bernard Cribbins & Clive Swift).
There is much humour in the film to compensate the horror that is taking place. There are some wonderful cinematic pieces that show Hitch hadn't lost the eye, he still knew exactly what he wanted. It's a classic.
Flawed, but then this is Hitchock
Firstly let me make it clear I'm an avid Hitchcock fan.
Secondly this film is flawed, but then it's hard to name a Hithcock film that isn't. He was an artist but often produced some very clumsy scenes as well as outstanding and innovative ones.
The ending of this film is abrupt especially after the lengthy talky scenes of the final (French) part of the film (which had some great scenes especially with Philippe Noiret & Michel Piccoli). Abrupt - this is Hitchcock being clumsy again (Needed a bit more time spent on in to polish it up, that's all), but probable - so not unsatisfying.
The 2nd part stands out, most notably in the exceptionally filmed murder scene; Hithcock is at his best when he's being arty - beautiful (Full honours to Karin Dor!).
The opening defection scene is pure Hitchcock.
The score, often fine, is inappropriate at times (Either by being there at all, or too light a mood).
I think this film has been sadly underrated. It may lack the action modern films seem to require but it is a good counter balance to the OTT espionage films like Bond (Which I have to admit I also enjoy, Roger Moore aside).
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
All were perfectly cast, Alfred Molina makes an excellent Doc Ock adding far more humanity than in the comic and fleshing out the role somewhat.
Kirsten Dunst is more then adequate as Mary Jane, though I'd like less screaming and more attitude.
Marvel, in my opinion, were always more in touch with their characters than other comic producers, Tobey is just perfect (The ONLY fault is he hasn't got brown eyes..so what...).
What's missing now is an ending with Spidey about to be mashed and a bar across the screen that reads : Next: *******
(*title to next film as appropriate).
That'll leave us all with our tongues hanging....