Monday 31 December 2018

Another Year, Another 'New' Me


No flares with this post, just words.

Last year I set realistic goals rather than resolutions because I think I knew, deep down, it was going to be a difficult year. What I didn't realise was that it was going to be a difficult year all round, not just, 'I need to job hunt AGAIN' kind of year.

Last year I was in an odd place, I had been plagued by headaches and given pills to 'fix' the problem. I had also been left to guess my fate in terms of the job I was at and I was in post production on my short film. Lets just say, my optimisim was misplaced.

Over the past year I've had three different jobs (thanks to the worst manager on the planet), my health as declined, I've had to take more pills than I've had to in all my life, I've tried to save a friendship only to have it thrown in my face, my family had to sell and say good bye to my Nan's house, a place we all have lots of memories (my Nan is safe in a home), things just weren't the same this year over Christmas BUT....

On the other hand, I got to attend two very special weddings, two of my best friends got married and both ceremonies were so unique and very them. One local, one in Croatia. I offered the chance to introduce a favourite film of mine at Cinema Rediscovered in Bristol, I have a taken on more writing opportunities, covered Edinburgh Film Festival AND BFI London Film Festival as part of the press and got the whole experience. I got my fourth tattoo, it may be small but its special to me. Despite the bullshit I've put up with, the film is complete!! (but more on that later). After years of saving and months of planning I finally travelled New Zealand, a life long dream of mine (and I've still not posted everything about it!).

There is always good with the bad, so I'll try to focus on the good parts this year. With my contact almost up, its back to the job hunt. I miss the water, so back to more regular swimminng. I haven't been to the cinema enough the past two months so, back to the cinema! Trying to be healthier so back on the bike. I would like to travel more too, but with the job situation, we'll have to see. Short trips and adventures around the UK are in store though. And as for writing, I have two projects lined up and hoping that my film collective gets its break.

Hoping you all have great year ahead.

Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday 27 December 2018

Watch List of 2018

With all the 'top ten' film lists alreday out there, mine comes in a little late. Looking similar to other lists and with a few 'obviously that was on the list' films, its been an odd year. There have been some truely superb films out there BUT they've had such a short release in cinemas it seems strange to see them listed even though the film deserve to be there.

A few surprise (for me) films have not made the final list, simply because I wanted to be brutal and only go for the '10. The Coen brothers' anthology, ahead of its time, old West film, 'The Ballad of Buster Scruggs' was brilliant, well, 5 out of the 6 stories were brilliant. I won't ramble on about how much I admire the Coens and how those who have watched the film and slated it need an education is storytelling, as you can read that HERE. Another film which rather screams 'Katie's kind of film', Assassination Nation' was a favourite of mine from LFF 2018 but I it deserves a second viewing for me to really get into it.

You may have noticed I have NOT included some truely brilliant films such as Infinity Wars, Deadpool 2 or Crazy Rich Asians. I do love these Hollywood films but I wanted to highlight other films that really deserve to be on 'best of 2018' lists:

Skate Kitchen*, Dir. Crystal Moselle

 Supa Modo*, Dir. Likarion Wainaina, The Shape of Water*, Dir. Guillermo del Toro, You Were Never Really Here, Dir. Lynne Ramsay

 Isle of Dogs, Dir. Wes Anderson, The Breaker Upperers*, Dir. Madeleine Sami & Jackie van Beek, American Animals, Dir. Bart Layton

 Sorry to Bother You, Dir. Boots Riley, Lady Bird*, Dir. Greta Gerwig, The Square, Dir. Ruben Östlund

*All these films pass the Bechdel Test

With the lack of Photoshop (I'm so lost without it) please forgive me my dull and boring pictures included in my posts from the last month.

Thursday 20 December 2018

Thursday Movie Picks: 2019 Movies You're Looking Forward To

Of course I am looking forward to Avengers: Endgame, that goes without saying, but I am first and foremost a Star Wars fans so for nearly two I will have to wait for the third film in the new trilogy. With all these rumours floatig round, it's hard to stay focused. I'm seriously lackng an info on what World Cinema films are out in 2019 so that's why there isn't any.

Some films don't even have a proper poster yet or any poster at all such as Rian Johnson's 'Knieves Out' which has an epic cast and described as a murder mystery, so, my dream film then. Obviously Disney is smashing the screens with Aladdin, Lion King and Dumbo. Not interested really in the first two as I'm not convinced by the casting of one (white washing) and the other isn't a live action, so, lies. But Dumbo does look so epically sad bu also fantastical, just hoping Tim Burton doesn't ruin another Disney classic. And one that surprised me, Detective Pikachu. It actually looks pretty good. 'Chaos Walking' also sounds intriguing as a possible beginning of another YA adaptation franchise.

Here are jus a few of the films I'm looking foward to:

 I know 'The Man who Killed Don Quiote' has no general release date BUT I live in hope it will for next year.

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

Sunday 16 December 2018

"This is my house, I have to defend it."

 Unlike most 80s films (literally born at the end of the 80s), my first John Hughs film was not a teen classic of the time, mine was 'Home Alone'. This was the true 90s kids film, who watched it wanting to recreate just one of the amazing traps Kevin McCallister makes in the film. Not only is the film ranked one of the greatest Christmas films of all time, it was also the highest-grossing live action comedy of all time in the US, until, of all things, The Hangover Part 2 beat it in 2011. It is, however still the highest grossing Christmas film in the US and teh film that earned infamous child star Macaulay Culkin a Golden Globe nomination.

Upon its release in 1990, the film received, surprisingly, mixed reviews, which makes me wonder why. What's not to like and enjoy about a kid who gets left behind by accident by hs family when they go on a Christmas holiday. This is every kid's dream to have the house to their selves and do whatever they want. Of course, no one thinks too dodgy crooks are going to rob their house thinking its empty. Anyone else would call family or the police but not Kevin.

No matter how big our family is, we all feel at one point or other like Kevin. The youngest in his family, seen as annoying by his older siblings abd disruptive by his parents. Always feeling left out and not taken any notice of. Although we the audience get to enjoy the hilariy and actually really dangerous torture devices and traps set up for Harry and Marv, a Pinky and the Brain type criminal duo, his 'accomplishments' are never seen by his family. Although they see he is more than 'the youngest' and congratulate him for surviving by himself, his true nature and skills are still never appreciated by them. Although their reaction to how he set the house up with traps, might not go down too well for everyone.

'Home Alone' is an odd classic compared to what Christmas films are churned out in recent years. It feels as if Hallmark has taken over. John Hughes' story unfold like any old Christmas film, family fueds, a comic but dire tragedy, a desparate journey and happy reunion. But the twist in this 'family' film is just as the poster says, it isn't about family, its about defending your castle or in this case an 8 year old who takes on two dangerous criminals by putting them through some of the deadliest booby traps constructed. Seriously don't try this at home, no matter how tempting. The film is given an extra edge of oddness in the form Joe Pesci who plays Harry. Know for his violent gangster characters, its a treat to see him paired with lanky dim Marv (Daniel Stern) barking orders, flashing his gold tooth and having a pillow full of feathers explode in his face. The fact that quite a bit of the joy of the film takes place in the last third of the film and where all the comedic but deadly violence happens. Slapstick is stretched the very edge of its meaning BUT there is no denying that we all enjoy seeing 'bad' guys' suffer. Besides, its Christmas, we're allowed to have fun.

Kevin's plan of action is glimpsed in the film as he unrolls a basic plan of one floor of the house, with tar, features and red hot mentioned, what I always wonder is how the hell did he clean up afterwards??

As a fun Christmas throwback, Home Alone is back in cinemas in the UK thanks to Park Circus. Take a look at where its playing, especially if you've never seen it, then you'll understand why everyone says; 'Merry Christmas ya filthy animal!' at Christmas.


Thank you to Park Circus for the pictures/poster. 
© 1990 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved

Wednesday 12 December 2018

Blind Spot: The Bodyguard

Some would say that this might not be up there with the classics of old but where the 90s are concerned, there are many classics.

All I knew about 'The Bodyguard' was that Whitney Houston sang in it and 90s powerhouse Kevin Costner was the title role, plus there was the very famous cover of 'I Will Always Love You' sang by Whitney but in fact was a Dolly Parton song. I only found out this year that that song was from 'The Best Little Whore House in Texas'. I'm so glad I saw that musical first, make me look at 'The Bodyguard' in a whole different way.

A romantic thriller about a famous singer and actress who is forced to hire a bodyguard, the best that money can buy, after a series of attacks written and physical occur in the lead up to the Oscars. The thrill of the chase is who the stalker or attacker is and will he get what he wants, but of course the romance has to have a fair share of screen time. At first they fight, she'd difficult, he's strong and silent-ish but they fall in love anyway because, that the movies man. This may sound like I'm being cynical but I actually enjoyed this story. Predictable, yes, thrilling, of course, very silly in places, definitely.

Even though there are issues with the nearly everything, I can forgive this as not only was a really late to the Whitney sings 'I Will Always Love You' to the Prince of Thieves himself, Costner, but it's also because its an easy watch which is exactly what you want it to be. Although I really thought it was the chauffeur who was the stalker, that guy was creepy at the start. 

Films about films or actresses playing actresses is always fascinating to watch. It feels like you're behind the scenes of what you're watching. A story behind the story is always the one I'm more interested in. This is also the nature of thrillers. The romance part of the story is there to build characters and for the audience to indulge in. The music is fantastic, even that strange number Whitney sings at the club where the fans literally rip her clothes off, and its also Whitney herself in her prime. Having seen a few documentaries about her, her story and life are fresh in my mind. 

One things that struck me was the relationship between the sisters. On the surface, they're fine but really, the non famous one really hates her sister, life, fame and all that inbetween. There are a few stories of sisters supporting each other reluctantly and secretly hating each other. This bothers me more than, in the eyes of the film, a side story should. 

It's interesting to learn that this could have have been a 70s film with Ryan O'Neal or Steve McQueen and Diana Ross, I would have liked to see that film. Then we could have had a whole 'A Star is Born' thing going. Just how 'The Bodyguard' ends, I will end this post, oddly and abruptly.

  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.

(Apologies for the lack or originality with my banners - having a 'my computer broke down and lost all my software issue)

Sunday 9 December 2018

What do you want? You want the moon?

 Unpopular opinion; 'It's A Wonderful Life' is a lie. It's not a wonderful life.

Took me years to see it and when I did, I found myself angry and frustrated for poor old George. All he ever wanted was to leave Bedford Falls but he never did anything he wanted. What's so wonderful about that?

From this, you might be thinking I'm some kind of Scrooge or to you youngsters, a Grinch. Well I'm not a big fan of the Grinch either but that's another post. I actually really love Christmas. I used to have my own traditions when I was a kid and enforced some when I got older but Christmas this year will be very different which is sad but all things change. I'm still keeping my Christmas spirit though. Putting up the tree (soon), wrapping the presents and watching all my Christmas films. 'It's a Wonderful Life' is NOT included.

I always saw Frank Capra's classic as a beacon of hope and Christmas cheer and that's how it was sold to me. Of course as I got older, still never having seen it, I read that George, our hero, goes through a 'Christmas Carol' type deal but just with the future part, where he sees what lives would be like if he hadn't been born. The fact that George was about to kill himself by jumping off a bridge only having to jump in anyway to save an old man, his guardian angel, puts a downer on the whole story. George is pushed to his limit when he steps up to that bridge, having had to miss out on countless chances to escape his hometown, where I'm sure he would be far happier. He is always making sacrifices and always 'doing the right thing' for everyone else, its no surprise he ends up on that bridge. He's meant to be saving his town, friends and family from the evil Mr Potter but how has it come to be George's problem? The visit to 'Pottersville' just mounts more pressure on George than ever. Seeing that yes he may have saved people, or changed people's lives, but I still can'y shake the fact that it is all at the expence of George's real happiness. What I would have liked to see is what if George HAD got to live his dream, what would have his life been like?

I suppose if there had been anything different, there wouldn't have been a film, right? George's plight just doesn't sit well with me, which is why I can't happily watch the film. I want to George to travel the world with Mary and have a life outside Bedford Falls, but I know what will happen when I play the film, the same un-wonderful life. Give me a Christmas film where everything does work out fine in the end.

Thursday 6 December 2018

Tales From the Screen Age...

First with excitement and then with eager anticipation I watched the first trailer of 'Mortal Engines', an adaptaion of a book I loved when I was younger, back in 2003. I had always said the book had cinematic potential and now we can see it in cinemas this week!

The concept art was beautifully spot on but the trailer worried me. In fact each trailer release I doubted that this was going to be the story I loved. And yes I know, 'you shouldn't compare the book to the film' but readers will always do that. The fact that Peter Jackson was on board gave me hope,  but he didn't direct it. Ignore the marketing that makes it seem like he did, he didn't. But despite that, I was still keen to see it. M full review over at VultureHound which will be up soon. But until then, HERE are my thoughts about the possible new franchise to try and dominate the cinema.

Side note, having seen the film, I am actually spurred on to read the next book in the series.

UPDATE: My review of the film can be read HERE.