Welcome to my movie blog, containing reviews and articles. I've been writing since 2004 - with a short break during 2009.

Cannes here we come - Mk2

So today we did the final reshoots for our version of Fellowship of the Ring. Don't sound too excited - we're a small all girl cast with far too much homework and no time in the holidays. And we started working on ours before the Indiana Jones people did, so take that!

I always remind my cast of Peter Jackson's Bad Taste. It took him four years of shooting at weekends to finish it. Kinda like us really. Only, of course, Bad Taste was very good and while ours is impressive in places considering we were attempting a 3-hour epic on a £10 budget, I'm no PJ.

In fact, if you want to compare directoral styles, I'd nudge you in the direction of Ed Wood - with two takes maximum (I can't coax anything more out of an impatient cast, honest!), scripts learnt or made up on the spot, scant regard for continuity errors, gratuitous use of stock footage (pinched from the real FOTR) and the same gang of misfits who appear in every feature. Like Johnny Depp proclaims proudly in the film, I'm acting, producing and directing ("Only two people do all that - me and Orson Welles"). I'm also in charge of locations, props, food, getting people there on time, bullying people out of the house in all manner of silly costumes and weather conditions, script management, lighting (I held a torch with a sweet wrapper over the end pointed at the top of Gandalf's staff for half an hour. Best day ever...), music (pinched from FOTR and Donnie Darko respectively), editing (So far we've had about 7 gruelling sessions of about 8 hours each. Did you know that the climatic scene of Barry Lyndon alone took 42 days to edit. Must have been hell), updating the clapperboard and the not-so-special effects. So all those mistakes in the film? Yeh, they're all my fault. It's kinda a roundabout honour, really when you think about it.

But inevitably as blockbuster sequels came the question "What next?" (Coincidentally, those two words have been banging about my head since Tuesday, as "Fight Club" obviously isn't a sufficent enough answer for my piece of mind. The anticipated wave of dispair hit me at around 6:00 last night, a whole impressive four days.)

Well we were going to do Prince Caspian (Friend 3 really wants to play Susan, you see) with Friend 1's sandy cat doubling for Aslan, until we heard the Proper Hollywood bods were doing it. We really can't compete, and the technical difficulties looked pretty insurmountable anyway. We considered a sinister Alice in Wonderland, but I couldn't convince anyone that we could get around the caterpillers.

Then we had a look at our surroundings. We live on an island - what about The Wicker Man? Too much nakedness for a cast which feels self conscious appearing with cloaks in public. Saving Private Ryan always pops up during these discussions - after all, we've got plenty of beach.

We had a think about cast as well - since the departure of our Legolas, we are but six girls. The obvious answer is, of course, The Descent - which if my memory serves really is about six girls. Or we could do The Blair Witch Project, though there's no challenge at all there. Remaking a cheap film with a small cast and a single a cheap film with a small cast and a single camera is a total waste of time.

Thing is, we covered up for bad action sequences with slo-mo, and it's best if we stick to plain talking. What's got lots of talking...R+GaD came up, inevitably. We can do forests, and I know how to make a biplane. Unfortunately, we got into a mire when casting. Friend 3 suggested herself and Friend 4 for the title roles, which I agree would be good. The only problem is, I can imagine them cast both ways around which hurts my head! I think I was going to be Hamlet - I've always wanted a second stab at it - or the Player, because he and I have the same views on sticking to "the story" without mercy, whatever the consiquences.

And then I had a short conversation with myself about how fun it'd be to do Reservoir Dogs - one location, lots of talking etc - and even got down to casting. This was highly enlightening, and very very funny but as no one who's reading this both seen the film and knows my friends, there's really no point in repeating it. And besides, the swearing would be a problem. Still, I think redoing it with an all-female cast is an innovative idea.

I've got about seven original scripts, but I'm not willing to show them to anyone.

Roundabout back to where we started - The Hobbit? (too many trolls, spiders and dragons, and hopefully upcoming competition from Hollywood) The Silmarillion? (Specifically, the tale of the fall of Gondolin - no balrogs, and while we scraped Fellowship, we're nowhere near noble enough for First Age heroes.) Two Towers? TWO TOWERS!!!!!! Do you know it took us near on half an hour to realise this was the simplest way to reuse the same sorts of locations and costumes? Duh...

PS - last night, I saw Walk The Line. Perhaps I wasn't in the mood, but I didn't enjoy as much as I wanted to. The main attraction for me was a) it's got Joaquin Phoenix in it and b) it's about Johnny Cash. I'm quite a fan - I couldn't name you his mother or his albums in chronological order etc, but I do own four albums I' m larger than your average clique of people who wear Che Guevara t-shirts and have Jim Morrison posters on their wall, just because they're hip. Understand? Anyway, the film reminded me very much of Brokeback Mountain. The colour scheme, the background music, the tone and pacing were all very similar, as was bits of plot - especially his arguments with his wife, the troubled Thanksgiving dinner and sneaking off to go "fishing" with June. Only they really were was quite good in places, but I didn't really
enjoy it. I know Johnny Cash had a pretty awful life in places, but it felt like it should have been...a bit more fun. You should have been able to feel what the girls in the audience were screaming for. A bit sedate and family-drama-y for me. As for the acting, Mr Phoenix did a good job - especially in the latter stages - as did Oscar-winning Ms Witherspoon - and may I congratulate their singing. OK, not a patch on the original, but a jolly good job nontheless.


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