Friday, 18 August 2017

Around the World: Wales

After the last post from Around the World, I was hoping for a more upbeat story but having just rented Soloman & Gaenor, I should have guessed from the title (and synopsis) that things wouldn't end well. Nothing usually does with 'star crossed loves'.

Set in South Wales on 1911 in a small mining town. There are continous issues with the mines, with strikes and talks going on throughout. Solomon (Ioan Guffudd) is an Orthodox Jew who hides his ethnicity when he sells fabrics door to door. hi family own a shop in the small town and tend to keep to their own comminuty which is subject to abuse. Soloman meets and falls in love with Gaenor (Nia Roberts) who has a strict father and openly anti-Semitic brother. Soloman struggles to keep his love a secret from his family and his family a secret from Gaenor. When she discovers she is pregnant, she is publically disgraced in her church.

Released back in the late 90s, the BAFTA winning film was also nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category but it lost out to Pedro Almodovar's All About My Mother. Tough year. The film was actually film in both English and Welsh. I think I saw the English version with a bit of Welsh and Hebrew too.

The story is familiar, two lovers who want to be together by their opposing families and beliefs keep them apart. But in this story, they keep secrets from each other. Solomon keeps his family a secret and in turn keeps Gaenor a secret from them. She later, thinking he doesn't love her, keeps her pregnancy a secret from him until it becomes too much to bear. As with all these stories, there is a feeling of tragedy in the air from the start but the gentle courtship and growing feelings between Solomon and Gaenor makes you desperately hope for a happier ending or at least a satisfying close. 

Next up... check out all the films HERE

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Thursday Movie Picks: Rescue

So, all my picks this week are Disney. A happy accident.

The Rescuers
When it comes to rescue, the first thing that comes to find is that adorable song 'R-E-S-C-U-E/Rescue Aid Society...' you know it. A society of mice from around the globe meet up and help children. Its adorable. Really sad and rather gritty (a young child is thrown down in pot hole caves, almost drowned, threatened by pet alligators on a daily basis) but there is hope of course, in the form of American teaming up with Hungary...of course. Bernard and Bianca are fearless, the former less so but they do everything to help Penny who is kept captive by one of the great forgotten and rather hilarious villains, Madame Medusa who really wants the big jewel. This film is close to my heart as it was one of the old VHS Disneys we had when we were young.

In Search of the Castaways
Featured in my afternoon movie segment way back when, this Disney live action featuring 60s darling Hayley Mills is an adventure with the strangest group. Mary and Robert Grant convince Lord Glenarvan and his son to rescue their shipwrecked father, Captain John Grant. Along with their friend, French professor Paganel, who found an SOS in a bottle, they all venture round the globe. Well, South America then New Zealand. It's really fun and rather silly in places, complete with a couple of terrible songs and predictable romance, it is indeed a perfect afternoon movie.

Return to Oz
Continuing on the afternoon movie streak, Return to Oz is a classic (for me and my friends at least) and was someone I went to Uni with's favourite film ever. It is also terrifying as Dorothy is about to be given 'therepy' in the form of electric shocks (which has been proven to make things worse). At the start of the movie the farm house is still being built after the tornado and her aunt doesn't believe her stories. But after a power cut and a strange girl who she keeps seeing, leads her to the river where she floats in a crate to OZ, she knows its real. What's great is that characters from the real world double up again in OZ, also terrifying. More part of OZ are shown, the deadly desert, the big villain, Gnome King who has taken over the land and turned everyone in the Emerald City to stone. Dorothy, along with her band of misfits as that is exactly what they are, have to rescue the Scarecrow and the mysterious Ozma.

Don't forget to check out where it all started over at

Monday, 14 August 2017

The Slumber Party Massacre

I talk about them about them all the time, I know, but they have such great screenings I just can't help it. They were great at The State of Things in Bristol. I'm super excited about what they'll do for Halloween. Of course its The Final Girls.

Back in July, before all the madness happened, Fox (I've mentioned her a few times) and me got tickets to see a slasher movie. Not the sort of thing I'd do on a Friday night but the I remembered reading about it somewhere else before (I'm pretty convinced it was Dell on Movies) and thinking this sounds awesome.

The Slumber Party Massacre isn’t your average 70s/80s slasher, it is known as the first feminist slasher movie. Slasher films usually feature women half naked most of the time, getting killed all the time and overall, a negative representation of women.

Rita Mae Brown, feminist writer and activist, originally wrote the screenplay for The Slumber Party Massacre as parody of the genre but as production moved on, some things were changed. When editor and aspiring director Amy Holden Jones ended up with the script for The Slumber Party Massacre, things looked like they’d change for the better. But Roger Corman, praised in the industry for his work, wanted more gore, more naked women, as the film has filled its quota. Regardless of these changes, the film stands out as being progressive (in my eyes anyway) in more ways than one.

The story goes, a group of ‘high school girls’ all on the basketball team, plan a slumber party at Trish’s house whose parents are away. They invite new girl Valerie, who lives next door but feels uncomfortable and doesn’t go. It also just so happens that mass murderer Russ Thorn has escaped and starts killing everyone he meets, but he seems fixated on this group of girls. The girls are in for a scary and bloody night.

The panel talk that followed the screening was brilliant. Discussing how the women are depicted as more capable as they actually fight back, arming themselves with knives when a pizza delivery guy drops dead in the living room after one of the nastiest off screen deaths. It was also noted that the women who dressed in short wear lived longer which was a intriguing observation. The objectification of women is seen but in a way it was more natural, if a little pointless but this was on purpose. A shower scene where women discuss athletes and later on in the house, undressing in the living room so the boys have an opportunity to watch them. The men’s deaths are actually more gruesome, as the men are screaming in pain (and understandably). Even the killer is shown to be weaker than then women when he corners one of the final girls with his weapon of choice, a phallic like object, an electric drill than is chopped down with a machete. He begins to loose at this stage, whining like a child and falling into the pool. Another fair point is that women are seen in jobs such as carpenter and phone line repairer, which is refreshing and more importantly, completely normal. The team’s coach, also a woman, is a fighter. She senses something is wrong and goes over to help, fighting back, almost cornering the killer. These genre tropes being challenged were strangely uplifting. Feels odd to say this about a slasher movie, but it’s true, a Friday night out that is hard to beat.



#BFI #TheFinalGirls #TheSlumberPartyMassacre #Horror #Feminism

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

All Quiet on the Blogger Front

Well hello there! No I've not disappeared, just took a break without meaning to. It is an understatement that I have been busy. I've literally keeled over from being so tired.

It all kicked off week before last when I went to Bristol (which you can read about HERE) and came back to the world of work. Launched into catching up on emails and invoices and the like, while at the same time trying to organise auditions for the short film I'm working on AND trying to finish off a piece about Blood Simple (which I can hopefully share with you all soon).

Obviously, getting into work and doing my job took precedence, as it is my day job after all. Getting into work mega early just so I can leave a tad early was also cutting into my sleep. Not that I don't nap every chance I get, I had to basically nap every chance I get. To the point I was falling asleep at my desk mid type. With no rest in sight, I just powered through and got to the other side, this week, where everythhing seems to be just the same. I'm shattered.

As well as various things happening, my short film I'm making with my friend Foxo, Late Nights at the Movies, has been taking up my time. Now that the cinema is secured, we were able to just get rolling. We've had a few production meetings, talking about equipment, costs and auditions. We organised auditions for the weekend just gone and we will be revealing good news very soon, but out of respect for the all the actors, I won't reveal anything on here. But just to say its been a very busy time. We also have another recce of the cinema this weekend, brief but vital and we have another meeting Monday.

I have also been panicking and painfully trying to put together a decent zine for my Blood Simple piece which was part of The State of Things course. Here's a sneaky preview..

On top of work I've been trying to catch up on writing here, which didn't work out... but I will make up for it with the following planned posts:

The Slumber Party Massacre
10th Film Anniversaries
20th Film Anniversaries
Blind Spot
Around the World: Wales
Watch List August
Against the Crowd Blogathon

I have also in turn been panicking and painfully trying to put together a decent zine for my Blood Simple piece which was part of The State of Things course. Here's a sneaky preview...

So, poor old blog has been neglected lately. But that will change in the next few weeks, got some big plans coming up!!