Thursday 28 February 2019

TMP Television Edition: Book to TV Adaptations

Three books, one I've read and loved, one I'm still reading and the other I wish I had read.

Tom Perrotta's novel is brilliant and when I heard there was a TV adaptation I was disappointed. Such a brilliant book should'nt break out beyond the cover. However I saw the first couple of episodes of the first season and thought differently. With a plot beginnning, same as the book, years after (I think) 2% of the world's population disappears and how everyone is coping with the aftermath. With a family at the center and the different paths they take actually works on screen. But I read the book, I didn't need to see it. However its season 2 and 3 I might watch as the story goes way beyond the last pages and even gives a reason for why it all happened, which Perrotta never does. I was ok with not knowing as it isn't really about that.

I wish I had read this book. I loved this intricate story that was more than a coming home/murder mystery. Its all about family and tryiny and failing to outrun the past. I wrote about how much I admired about the show HERE and I don't think I can add anymore to it, expect that I really hope there isn't a follow up. The story worked perfectly as a one off series. Don't ruin a good thing.

 I know the story and I know how relevent it is now more than ever, which is why I held off watching the show but when I was on my homeward journey back from New Zealand and was on my second flight, I watched the whole first season, 10 hours, glued to my little plane TV. I was shocked, appaulled and hooked, just as I thought. An excellent series, even if every second of it is bleak as hell. I knew it was going beyond the book and I had hoped this would lead to rebellion but things move slow in The Republic of Gilead. Season two brought new horrors but also more stories about other characters which I liked, not that I love June, but she loses it half way through and I did not enjoy that. I also really hated the cliffhanger, really hated it. But not long til season 3.


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

Tuesday 26 February 2019

We Are the Weirdos

With the success of last year’s showcase of emerging talent in film, specifically exploring the horror genre made by female filmmakers, The Final Girls are back with a second instalment of the shorts programme. 

To celebrate Women in Horror month, the feminist horror film collective, The Final Girls are taking their programme on the road around the UK. The shorts, from filmmakers around the world each have their own perspective on what horror can be. Exploring the genre through animation, monsters, ghosts, memories and satirical viewpoints, these filmmakers each have something unique to share. 

We are treated  shots from our own shores, like Kate Dolan’s ‘Catcalls’ where a man cruises the streets and picks on the wrong women to exercise his quick thrill. They soon get their revenge. As well as Rebecca Culverhouse’s #EatPretty about a product photographer is who is obsessed with the perfect image and soon turning to sweeter, darker things. Shot like beauty adverts, the film captures the essence of what makes the perfect outward image while conveying the darker side to this lifestyle. 

Those who had a fear of puppets were warned at the start and no wonder as Hanna Bergholm’s ‘Puppet Master’ was about a lonely woman who is turned into a puppet by a handsome stranger. But the beautifully filmed puppetry was heartbreaking more than terrifying, at least after the first initial shock. 

Animation was also featured in the line up with a fantastical stop motion animated ‘Cerulia’ from Sofia Carrillo which featured Cerulia of the title venture back to her old house where her childhood memories still live, waiting for her return. 

The centrepiece short of the evening was the only short with a comedic edge matched only with its undertone in truth. Mariama Diallo’s brilliantly named ‘Hair Wolf’ was pitch perfect at every step. Set in black hair salon, the staff fend off the strange monster like threat, the white woman trying to take away the ‘lifeblood from black culture’. Both zombie and witch like, the woman invades and turns them one by one with a selfie claiming that its ‘viral’. A brilliant film that fits so well into the horror genre, it worries me. 

Monster are real, whether they are creatures that roam the streets at night seeking revenge or in your own home, someone you know, someone close to you, maybe even under your bed. The nine shorts we get to see, explore the fantastical and the so real it feels like a dream. We are the Weirdos is hopefully going to become an annual event in the film calendar so we get to see more shorts like this. 

So that you don't miss out, tickets for the tour can be found HERE

Monday 25 February 2019

Fan Service

Last week Jason Reitman unceremoniously announced that he will making ‘Ghostbusters 3’ and that it will be for the ‘real fans’.

In just a few words Reitman has disregarded ‘Ghostbusters’ that came out in 2016 and the massive misogynist wave of abuse the cast, filmmakers and fans received. He has fallen into the trap of appeasing these ‘real fans’ or at least promising to please them. He has also ignored the fans who did enjoy Paul Feig’s film and the positive critics reviews. He has instead acted as if what he is doing is what everyone wants. There is an arrogance about Reitman thinking that its ok to ‘take back’ the Ghostbusters franchise just because he is the son of Ivan Reitman, director of the original films. This is literally all he is hanging on to in my opinion.

Jason Reitman isn’t a favourite filmmaker of mine, I think it’s fair to state this. I loved ‘Juno’ and actually thought ‘Men, Women and Children’ wasn’t that bad. ‘Labour Day’ was also an interesting watch. But otherwise, he isn’t that great. Plus, ‘Juno’ is really all about the script and the characters, which he didn’t come up with, that was all Diablo Cody.  

Right as I type Reitman is trying to back track what he said and claim what he said ‘came out wrong ’. Sure Jason, sure. Paul Feig has defended Reitman disappointingly saying that he can’t wait to see what Jason does. But its not enough to convince us fans that don’t even register on Reitman’s close minded radar. I’m with Leslie Jones, it was ‘dick move’.

This announcement will be in the news a few more days and wind down, but while the iron is hot, I want to strike further. In Reitman and the studio’s eyes, there’s a need to feed the beast that are the ‘real fans’ of Ghostbusters. Why can’t we just have a film and enjoy it or not? Why is there a need to make films just for the fans with no thought for progression or improvement? The only time I can think that fans should be considered is if the project is literally funded by the fans. When Veronica Mars the TV series was cancelled, all the fans came out of the woodwork in protest to the point creator Rob Thomas kickstarted the film. The film is literally made by the fans and so is for the fans. As a fan of the show, I really appreciated this final frothy farewell to the folks of Neptune. The fans got what we wanted. But ‘fanboys/girls’ can turn nasty when they don’t get what they think they deserve. This was painfully apparent during the entire Ghostbusters bitter rollercoaster in 2016.

With the out cry of ‘fans’ who took the internet to voice their opinions after ‘The Last Jedi’ was released was unbelievable. The amount of arrogance that these ‘fans’ had or should I say has, has no bounds, even starting a partition to remove the film from canon was ridiculous and rather pointless. ‘Fans’ were outraged with the way Luke was handled, the way the plot was handled and with everything really, but mostly Luke. The film was a brave step towards the future and in order to have a future, you need to leave the past behind, but the ‘fans’ seemed not think the films were just going to be about Luke, Han and Leia again, which is, again, ridiculous. If they wanted the old Star Wars, they can literally just watch the old Star Wars. Self entitled ‘fans’ think that its all about them and yes to an extend the films are for them, but the creation of story and characters belongs to the filmmakers and in a way George sodding Lucas. The fans, audience are there for the ride, they are there to be entertained not have their every demand pandered to. The ‘fans’ feel as if they are entitled to how a film is made and should dictate to the filmmakers. This pure poison to the film and all the fans watching and enjoying.

This is when films falter. If they make a film just to satisfy the fans, a mediocre film is created and most likely critically panned. If a film is made just for the creators alone, it turns into a self indulgent mess. If a film is make by passionate filmmakers for an audience who appreciate a great story and characters then, we’re all winners. ‘Fanboys’ or fan girls, but to be honest fan girls cause very little trouble are usually championing things rather than bringing them down, but either way, ‘real fans’ ruin the film experience and creation. Wouldn’t it better if they just shut the hell up and let us enjoy the films? Wouldn’t it better is Jason Reitman also shuts the hell up and stops trying to pathetically take back that really idiotic comment? It would be better but I doubt its the last we’ll encounter this sort bullshit. 

Thursday 21 February 2019

The Family That Slays Together...



With the rash of TV shows in the last few years that have been adaptations of comic books, you would think that the release of ‘yet another’ would have everyone rolling their eyes while Netflix rolled out their long marketing campaign for the newly arrived ‘Umbrella Academy’. Not only is this a show based on the comic created by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba but it is also about another somewhat exhausted genre, superheroes. Only considered a genre and not a sub over the last couple of decades, TV was slow to catch up, instead venturing down the route of original stories of the genre, I’m thinking of ‘Misfits’ here and to a lesser extent, sitcoms like ‘My Hero’ and ‘No Heroics’. That’s what the UK has to offer anyway. But now, we have the likes of Agents of SHIELD (more spy than superhero but still very sci-fi) and Legion. Comic book adaptation have proved to popular and as the original stories were all in  episodes, it makes sense to turn them into serials. Preacher, iZombie, Happy!, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Riverdale and of course, The Walking Dead. Not all can be winners, such as Outcast and the incredibly underrated Middleman. New shows joining the ranks this year; Deadly Class, Doom Patrol and The Boys are out later this year. With new adaptations out every year, is there room for more? Well, when it comes to the Umbrella Academy, there most definitely is.

Tag lined ‘Super. Dysfunctional. Family’ doesn’t actually scrape the surface of this family of super powered people. The comic stands out in more ways than one as does the TV show its based on not just because of its characters, universe or plot. With only two collected volumes of the comic released before the show went into production, it seems that the creators of the show and Netflix were banking on the notoriety of the comic to bring in the viewers. I only read the first book a couple of months ago in prep for the show and I’m glad I did but I still had multiple questions about what was happening.

There have already been first reactions to the show going round the internet as well as the usual lists about what questions have been left unanswered as well as differences from the comic, all of which I’m personally fine with. The universe the academy exists in is a very weird one and not like ‘ours’ so any changes to make things a little less complicated I’m ok with.

I’ve rambled on for a bit without talking about the show properly. Beginning with a prologue, a sign of setting up the scene, novel style, explaining how the Umbrella Academy came to be. When 43 children are born simultaneously around the world to women who weren’t pregnant at the start of the day, am eccentric millionaire adopts (or rather buys)  as many as he can find, which is 7. He trains them, disciplines them and never once fathers them like a real parent. Out the 7 children, 6 have special powers and one doesn’t, BUT she does seem to be on medication, so you can guess what you will hear. Trying to be spoiler free as possible. The children grow up (apart from Vanya, who plays violin) in the lime light as superheroes but as they get older, one by one leave the academy, except for Luther, who pays for his loyalty. All the children are numbered and this is what their ‘father’ calls them, never by their names given to them by their robot mother. As adults they are all following their own path and they haven’t seen each other in years. One brother, Number Five, disappeared when they were 13 and hadn’t been seen because he leapt too far into the future and saw the apocalypse and lived to an old age in it, until he was recruited to be a hitman for a shady secret organisation. For anyone who hasn’t read the comics or not seen the show yet, this might mean absolutely nothing to you. Sorry guys.

Seven children, seven numbers, seven weird powers. Space boy aka No.1, is strong and he also has monkey DNA so he literally looks like a mutant. No.2 The Kraken, is good with knives, he always hits his targets, plus he wears a weird leather thing to carry all his knives. No.3 The Rumour, literally says ‘I heard a rumour’ and whatever she says it comes true. Unfortunately she learnt  too late that her life is built on lies and her ‘rumours’ which is why she is divorced and not allowed to see her daughter. No.4 The Seance, can speak, hear, hang out with the dead BUT he can do so much more, like, visit the afterlife and chat with god. More on that later. Because of the whole dead thing, he’s a junkie, to drown out the voices, a real tortured soul. No.5 disappeared into the future, got stuck and then clawed his way back to his family. He can move through space and time but he’s really a great hitman. No.6, The Horror, had the ability to release monsters from another dimension through his stomach, but he died mysteriously. This hasn’t been revealed in the show or comics, yet. No. 7, The White Violin, the ‘ordinary’ one who plays the violin but really is the most powerful. Able to control everything around her, her emotions affecting the objects and people and if she plays the violin, well, that means the end of the world. All the family members are disturbed, scarred and struggling in some way, physically and emotionally, but together they are, well, really dangerous.

The fact that the show is a combination of both comics, might mean the show could go its own way, diverted from the comics. Including making more of time travelling hitmen, Cha-Cha and Hazel which was a fun and sometimes funny diversion from the main gang. But who knows what could happen next. I just want there to be a season 2. Plus with all these Marvel cancellations Netflix has room in their schedule.

A family that tries to prevent the apocalypse together you would think stay together. I’m hoping Netflix sees sense and renews the show. Fingers crossed umbrella fans.

Thursday 14 February 2019

Thursday Movie Picks: Romantic Comedies

The Rom-Com hasn't been my favourite genre over the years. Even though I've happily sat through the same old same old from time to time. In recent years I don't think I've bothered with any (except Crazy Rich Asians as that is awesome)  but I do actually own a couple rom-coms as I didn't think they were classed as rom-coms. Oh well. The British Rom-Com used to be a 'thing' but again in more recent years its slipped away. But there are some gems out there that I think deserve a second glance. Also all the films are from the early 2000s and under seen whic might be why I couldn't find better pictures...
Born Romantic
The cast is a mixture of famous faces now and famous faces back when the film was first released in 2001.Various characters find love, old loves and new passions at a salsa club, all connected by a cab driver, with his own story, who offers advice on love. It's a great cast, funny and the dancing isn't too bad either. It's a very early 2000s feel to it which makes it even better to watch now.

A mockumentary rom-com where the entire film was improvised and with a cast like this, its hilarious and ridiculous from start to end. Wedding magazine, Confettu, sets up a competition for couples to create their ideal and unique wedding, which will be judged by a panel, with the winning couple getting a house (which you never see). The wedding themes are 1930s-40s musicals, tennis and a naturist couple want a naked wedding. The cast is who's who in British film and TV (plus one Canadian) with my favourites Jessica Hynes and Stephen Mangan as well as internationally famous now Martin Freeman and newly BAFTA award winning Olivia Colman. In fact, Colman and Robert Webb both hate the film as they were misled about how much nudity would be shown. Bascially they were lied to by the filmmakers. Which is a shame as the fact that this film was improvised everyone does an amazing job.

School for Seduction
This was better than I thought it was going to be. When the mysterious Italian woman, Sophia arrives in Newcastle she sets up her seduction classes, bringing together a group of lively women who feel ignored or unloved by their husabnds or feel like they are lacking sophistication who enroll. Learning that seducton is more about yourself, they all have varying results in ther love lives.

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

Wednesday 13 February 2019

Meet The New Yarn

Pixar’s newly minted Spark Short’s first film is here and it’s delightfully aimed at adults.

Taking on the modern work place, commenting on the toxic boys’ club of the office, a new recruit arrives and it’s a pink ball of yarn named Purl. She’s happy, bright and friendly, not what her co-workers were expecting. She’s tries to join in with jokes and pitch in ideas at the office meeting but she’s left on the outside and excluded from fun after work drinks. So, she decides to act like them and is eventually excepted but when new recruit Lacy, a yellow ball of yarn, arrives Purl at first makes jokes but sees that she can make a change and invites Lacy to drinks. Flash forward and Purl is showing around the latest recruit to the office which is now full of different coloured yarn balls and happy co-workers.

From reading various pieces on ‘Purl’ it’s making an impression, being shared around the internet. Pixar isn’t one to shy away from the tougher topics in their film but the fact that this new short, written and directed by Kristen Lester, is purposely for adults is a barrier worth breaking. With adult jokes and swearing (apparently there is swearing, but I might be desensitised to these things) and very obviously taking on what it feels like to be the odd yarn ball out. Reading around the internet, the short has hit a cord with lots of women (of course, we’re the yarn) and myself included as we’ve all felt like Purl at some point in our working lives and even non-working lives. 

Although there are all kinds of yarns at the end, the other part of the short that was very obvious is that the office is in no way diverse, all the ‘bros workers’ are Caucasian, which doesn’t exactly mirror the work place. This is, I’m sure, been noted by others. Others who have been annoyed by the more ‘adult’ dialogue and themes.

At just under 9 minutes long, the story cover ground and in my opinion, not subtle. It delicately encapsulates what the ‘toxic masculine environment’ is like and shows that it just takes one person, or one ball of yarn, to make a positive difference, as well as showing that we should help each other up. Life isn’t as simple as a Pixar short but the message is clear and the animation brilliant.

You can see Purl on the Disney/Pixar YouTube channel HERE.


Monday 11 February 2019

Closing the Door

With the BAFTAs on Sunday, you'd think this was about the closing of the door on that subject but luckily it isn't. I won't be flogging that dead horse (expression not real actions). Instead I wanted to share my thoughts on the recent turmoil surrounding HMV. 

It feels not too long ago I was writing a similar post about HMV possibly closing its' doors when it went into administration. A drastic measure where they shut down their online store, dramatically scaled their rewards and points system, Pure HMV and closed many of their stores. This was back in 2013 which feels not too long ago in retail years for this to happen again to the historical store. With 27 more stores closing around the UK, this means more jobs lost and less opportunities for film and music fans to find what they're looking for. They say its connected to people buyng more things online and streaming services but it seems that its always the internet that is to blame.

I've found over the years shuffling through shelves of chain shops, mega and tiny as well as the odd indie shops, that prices are very similiar to those online, unless its preowned or on sale. Exchange shops such as CEX have been useful but not so generous when you sell your goods to them. Of course I know they're there to make a profit BUT I swear 90% of their exchange rates only offer 5% of what they'll sell the goods on for. CEX opperates in stores and online and there seems to one from every corner, online only places like Music Magpie offer similar terrible exchange rates and rely on people getting rid of a bulk of films, CDs, electronics and books because they just want to get rid of them. I've done this a few times and been disappointed with the money returned, but as the alternative for much of the stuff is donating to charity shops, its always been worth getting that little bit of extra cash, hard times.

BUT I do still buy physical films, less DVDs and more Blu-rays. I have stopped buying as CDs as I'm not intuned with the music scene. I go by songs and artists I've loved for year and will download or dare I say it listen to on Amazon Music. I have always championed the physical copies of films, whether its an obscure film that never came out in the UK or a very special edition of that film I loved when I was a kid. But now I collect for the practical reason; you don't own digital copies. People who have tried converting their film collection to digital have been surprised to see some films they bought disappear from the digital stratosphere. As an avide collector, I'd rather horde of films than risk them being deleted at any time.

There was/is one place I used to visit every week, sometimes even twice, to get my film buying fix, Fopp in Covent Garden. Just after Christmas I was devastated to see that the shop hadn't had any new stock since before Christmas. Throughout January there was only old films, old sales to stare at. I was overjoyed, as were many loyal customers, to find out that Fopp Covent Garden had made the cut. So even though the historical site of HMV on Oxford Street will close its doors, at least my favourite shop lives on. I feel for the loyal Fopp fans that have lost their local store. To find out that Bristol and Edinburgh  had stores when I visited was amazing but alas they will both be closing.

Even HMV has been mostly 'saved', I know the new owners are trying to save more shops from being closed. I hope they do but I can't help but think, will we be here again in another 6 years?

If you're a Londoner and love films, please do go to the Fopp in Covent Garden, lets keep this one going so we can avoid the bloated Amazon zeppelin.

Thursday 7 February 2019

Thursday Movie Picks: Revenge

Does exactly what it says in the title. Woman joins her lover to a remote luxury house in the desert where he's joined by two disgusting friends for a hunting trip. Shes raped by one of the friends but her lover, who is married, wants to keep the whole thing quiet decides to kill her instead. She has her bloody bloody revenge on the men, in the most spectacular way. Its pretty damn good even though it does fall under the rape-revenge genre which I really hate that that's a 'thing'. What's different about this film, its written and directed by Coralie Fargeat who brings her own spin on the sub-genre.

Dead Man's Shoes
For a long while I owned this film, watching it twice then wandering why the hell I owned it. Its a brilliant but brutal film, but I don't think I could casually sit down and watch this again, unless it was for piece I was writing. One of Shane Meadows' films before the 'This is England' phase/TV craze and with his lucky charm the powerhouse Paddy Considine and first feature debut of Toby Kebbell. Considine returns home from a lengthy time in the army to take revenge on a gang of drug dealers who brutally bullied his mentally-impaired brother. It is grim, to put it lightly.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Of course, I'm going for the Swedish original, even I liked the American remake, the original is spuerb. Revenge is a theme that covers the entire trilogy, with Lisbeth getting revenge on his abusive father (in a flashback), her new guardian who rapes her, the serial killer at the end, shes a revenge queen.

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