Monday 27 August 2018

"Skate or Die Bitch"

The title of this post may sound aggressive but in the film its said more in a jest like manner. I unexpededly fell in love with this film about friendship, growing up and of course the love of skating. I should emphasis the female friendship part as this is about a lonely Long Island skater Camile who finds her friends, her skate sqaud, her tribe in the city and she is no longer lonely. She needs to grow up fast and she does in ways but getting a job, taking some responsibility but as she was alone for a long time, she still needs to learn about friendship and the sometimes delicate balance of what you can do and what you should be maybe be more candid about. It's not simply the 'girl code' or 'friend code' or whatever you want to call it, it more about knowing your friends and being honest, first and formost.

Director Crystal Moselle has crafted a beautiful film. Its beauty lies not just in the way its shot but also in the way the stories unfold. Can't share this love for this film enough.

My full review is over at My Film Club and can be read HERE.

Skate Kitchen, I believe is out in the UK later this week so go check it out!!!

Wednesday 15 August 2018

What's Your Damage Heather?

With the new restoration of the now cult classic satirical film set to be released in cinemas this week and the fancy new release on Blu-ray from Arrow Films, let us reflect on this surprisingly influential and relevant film.

You don’t know you’re making a cult classic in the making until its picked up later, still referenced, quoted and appears nowadays in pop culture art on Etsy, which is no bad thing when you’re a big fan and you need a card or stickers or patch to express your love for the film. The film had a preview at BFI this week and it was everything I had hoped for. Resisting the urge to rewatch it a few times just so I could savour the sweet moment when I could hear the words ‘Fuck me gentle with a chainsaw. Do I look like Mother Teresa?’ on the big screen. The preview audience, made up mostly of long time fans but had a good response from newcomers too as Lisanne Falk said in the Q & A. Joined by director Michael Lehmann the two talked enthusiastically and at ease about the making of the film, how its becomes a cult hit and offering anecdotes from the set. It was great to have the room laughing once again at some of the funny comments made by Falk and Lehmann.

Much of the credit for all the quirks of the film was passed to Daniel Waters who wrote the screenplay. The dialogue in particular is an aspect of the film that I’ve always loved. Words and phrases made up just for the characters that inhabit the world of Heathers. It reminds me of films that came later from Mean Girls (the more obvious) to Brick for the use of dialogue. The story is a perfect mix of reality, fantasy and dreams, paying homage to cult references such as the dream like funeral where everyone is wearing paper 3D glasses, similar to a famous 1950s photograph. Now the film itself is cult classic where other films pay homage to, whether its a quote (the film is very quotable) or a hint to an outfit or the same formation of characters appear.

A film like Heathers is rarely seen today. With its satirical wit and daring attitude, the film approaches teen suicide from the darkest realms of comedy. And even manages to stare murderous teenagers in the face. There would be little to no chance of making a film in the same vein no matter what your intentions are, except of course a remake. The misguided and not wanted or needed remake of Heathers was made into a TV show with a now cancelled broadcast date. It seems to have been ejected from the US and skipped the UK. But you never know, it might end up on E4 one late night. Remakes are a problem and this TV show reboot is no different. But a musical inspired by the film? That seemed even less unlikely, except its so very. A amazing soundtrack and a hit off broadway, it has now made its way to the UK to sold shows. This is the kind of show I can get behind.

With several questions about what would have happened after the credits rolled and was there anything cut from the film, I, like Lehmann had a regret. To not bring the original ending of a prom in heaven to the screen. This decision was made by the ‘money’ and with that there would be no film. But now knowing there was another end, I can’t help but wish we the fans had been given the gift in the form of an ‘extra’ but we can only dream.

Heathers is back in cinemas now, so if you haven’t booked your tickets yet, what’s your damage??

Tuesday 14 August 2018

Blind Spot: Bagdad Cafe

This may be seen as using another post to pad this one out BUT before I was given the chance to review the 30th Anniversary edition of Bagdad Cafe, I had been waiting for the opportunity ever since I read Ruby Tandoh's piece in Filmme Fatales issue no8. An excellent zine may I add. I think this does deserve to be in my blind spot list as its not a film I'd accidentally stumble upon but it has the air of 'classic' about it. Its about friendship, the importance of magic and of course, coffee.That hauntingly beautiful song will follow me down any road I walk now.

Full review can be found over at VultureHound HERE.

To find out how it all started, head over to The Matinee and to see what's happening now, check out Returning Videotapes who is the new host of the Blind Spot Series.

Thursday 9 August 2018

Season of the Witch

I’ve never heard this song, or maybe I’ve heard a cover of it in the credits of season 4 of True Blood. I actually really liked the first two seasons of True Blood, stuck with it during season 3, as Alcide was a werewolf worth sticking around for. Season 4 was where I faltered or rather the series faltered which was disappointing as it featured witches. I had hoped that this would be an exploration into witchcraft as well as the series’ own spin on the this area of supernatural beings, but it wasn’t. Even the ever amazing Irish actress Fiona Shaw couldn’t save the season as the head of a coven who is eventually possessed by a witch from the past seeking revenge. This was a lost opportunity in eyes. I stopped watching True Blood after a few episodes in to season 5, it had lost its bite.

Witches have not been favoured in film, music, literature and anything really... unless you count Sabrina the Teenage Witch and oh gad, Harry Potter and friends. I should say now, I’m not a huge Potter fans. Sorry but not sorry. It’s not a requirement of a British film lover who also likes fantasy and science fiction to ‘like’ Harry Potter. I appreciate the films and the books in other ways but I don’t own the films or even the books anymore (1-5 were my sisters and my dad bought and read the others). The studio tour on the other hand was immense and THAT I did enjoy. I own the Marauder’s Map, yes, but its an amazing work of art. So, there will not be mention of J.K Rowling’s saga. Although I loved Winnie the Witch and devoured all the 'Worst Witch' books, there isn't mention of them either, both classics if you ask me.

I did and do love Sabrina the Teenage Witch, that 90s TV sitcom styled show about a girl who finds out she is half witch and goes to live with her eccentric aunts. That, I could watch again, and I did, when I bough the entire series box set. The magic in that was a mix of goofy kid’s show stuff and pretty dark and dismal such as, being turned into a candle of wax for breaking a rule or turning to stone if your true love leaves you. This was dark for anyone to experience let alone a teen girl. This lighter side to witchcraft, as I mentioned, came with rules that at times Sabrina broke. The amazing spell book she was gifted held spells, need to know info and warnings of magic being misused. As a predominantly kid’s show, it obviously didn’t delve deep into mythology and very little history. One episode I thought was brilliantly executed was where Sabrina went on a class trip to Salem where everyone is given a secret identity, one of which is a ‘witch’. Anyone is allowed to be accused of being a witch because for some reason that’s a fun thing to do? Sabrina is picked on by the mean girl and is even put on trial. She wins and is proved not to be a witch BUT at the end when she finally looks at her identity it is revealed that she had the ‘witch’ card all along. You can’t escape your true identity.

Witchcraft has always been at the back of mind, as well elements of other explanations, might be why I love sci-fi so much. Star signs was something I followed when I was younger then as a teenager I bought my first pack of Tarot cards, ones of which I picked carefully. I tried to learn the meanings behind the cards but it became a novelty when I found out every ‘emo’ owned a pack. I was intrigued by the history and what each card meant rather than being considered to be ‘just like everyone else’.  I brought them into school once where everyone got excited and started ‘playing’ with them. Someone suggested I use them to read people’s future at the next charity week, but my head of year promptly shut this down and told me not to bring them again. I should add, this was a catholic Covent school (hideous place).

Although, my knowledge of the cards decreased, witches and witch craft was still something I was fascinated with. When American Horror Story: Coven started, I was ecstatic. Even though it was the least favoured (until Freak Show started), I loved it, despite some problematic parts to it. A house full of witches, actual spells of all kinds, dark and light, Stevie Nicks singing ‘Seven Wonders’, a fantastic old fashioned demonstration of what the seven wonders where, all amazing and yes it was still scary to watch in some parts. When you mix in axe murdering ghosts, voodoo queens and horrific racism, its a series I can watch repeatedly.

My refreshed interest in witches came about when a favourite London based film collective, The Final Girls, presented two short documentaries about witches, specifically in the 70s, at the start of the year during the London Short Film Festival. I wrote a post about this screening at the time, but it stayed with me. Witchcraft holds a world of the weird and wonderful as well as the potential scary elements. Witches in film have usually been placed as the villain which to me, is a tired trope, plus, if its outright horror like the 2015 film ‘The Witch’ I can’t watch. But, I’m still absorbed into the story. All the fairytale witches are evil and cruel, some of them even with cannibal tendencies, which is an easy out. The person with magical powers is always going to be the ‘evil’ one. This might be fear of the unknown, people fear what they can’t explain. Curiosity of witchcraft is far more interesting to depict. I should also mention The Final Girls' previous witch-y themed film, The Love Witch, which they toured the country with.  I loved this film but I won't gush on about it in this post as I have already in another.

After going to Somerset House’s free exhibition, Tear it Up, about independent publishing and magazines in the UK, I discovered Sabat magazine, which focused over 4 issues, on witchcraft, the spiritual and supernatural. This beautifully printed magazine had me at the first page. Exploring the myth behind the culture renewal of the occult and witches in a contemporary fashion, Sabat is full of beautiful art, interviews and articles around the idea of Witches. My renewed interest in Tarot cards came from the exquisite hand crafted Tarot cards Sabat has on offer and from The Night Circus (which I can reading right now) as well as the secrets that that story holds.




Thursday 2 August 2018

Thursday Movie Picks: Body Switch

Your Name
 A country girl, Mitsuha and city boy, Taki (a little bit like the song) wake up in each other's bodies. They get to know each through notes and messages and make changes in each other's lives. When Taki tries to find Mitsuha and her town but it is revealed that the comet that passed over the sky split in two. The smaller part crashing to Earth and destroying Mitsuha's town, 3 years previously. A sci-fi romance spin with body swapping. It is also the 4th highest grossing Japanese film of all time. With a fantastic soundtrack and amazing animation, this story stuck with me long after I saw it.

Girls Lost
Three teenage girls plant a special flower whose nectar turns them temporarily into boys. They enjoy the freedom that comes with being a boy, but when one of them becomes too attached to their male persona, their friendship is tested. In all honesty, I haven't seen all of the film, but now its waiting patiently on my shelf to be watched, no escape. The story was intriguing and it also reminded me of that episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch where she turns into a boy to get to know Harvey better. Yes, I love Sabrina, such a great show....

Day Watch
Following on from Night Watch, an epically amazing film, taken from the pages of The Night Watch saga by Sergei Lukyanenko, the sequel, Day Watch was not based on the second book of the series, but actually the latter part of The Night Watch book. Confused? No matter. The body switching in the film occurs when Light Other Anton needs to be hidden from the Dark Others as he has been covering up his son's (Dark Other) crimes against humans. He is body swapped with his old partner, Olga, who was punished to be an owl for decades, but that was in the first film. Anyway they are swapped for sometime in the film. An amusing sequence where it cuts between them as Light Other Svetlana can see the real Anton through his disguise.

 Don't forget to check out where it all started over at
Wandering Through the Shelves