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

"points for the student to consider"

If you hadn't worked it out already, these next few weeks I'm pretending to revise for me AS levels. My two most recommended revision movies are:

1 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off - adorable, sweet little Ferris. Everybody loves Ferris, the smug git.
And it’s the perfect remedy for work of any kind.

2 Apocalypse Now -“and all the children are insane…” – The Doors. Mysterious journey to the heart of darkness…a cast of characters with varying states of sanity…loud music and terrified people…random, violent death…hallucinogenic substances…surfing…well, possibly scrap the last part. Those adjectives could equally be ascribed to the revision process as the nightmare war in Vietnam. Just listening to the soundtrack, with its crazy crazy soundclips and intoxicating atmosphere makes me feel more focused already…

Anyway, I've got a list here of "points for the student to consider" and I thought I'd answer them meme style, just for a lark.

Does it matter that the majority of films you watch are American?
yes and no. No because a good film will always be a good film, no matter where it was made. And yes...because it increases the power of the USA over the film industry, which isn't something I have a problem with in itself, but it reduces the number of foreign films that even get over here. Foreign films are a treasure which everyone needs to discover, and thus naturally it's depressing that the ones which get over here are only a trickle. The success of Hero, I am depressed to realise, probably has to do with the words "QT presents...". Like Hostel, QT lends his starpower to very effectively get that brand of wushu movie released over here. Brilliant, kudos to him because I love those films, but it's sad that he needed to do it. Of course, one can go out of ones way to see low profile films, but it is harder and I'm lazy.

Do the conditions of reception (i.e. the cinema) matter?
I have honestly no idea what this means . At a guess, I suppose it's how far how you see it influences stuff. YES, resounding yes. Have you tried seeing Hero on a tiny screen? Any of you lucky enough (like myself) to see it on a massive one? I've always dreamed of seing the Sergio Leone westerns with bumper great speakers. Some films need to be seen at the cinema - The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Grindhouse both deserve the big screen experience. At the same time...are there some films which need to be seen on dvd? On video?! Its a Wonderful Life wants to be seen on TV around xmas time, and I've been tempted more than once to get a second hand video version of Pulp Fiction, muzzy quality and all. I feel a lo-quality version would enhance the experience.

Does it matter that studios control many of the means of distribution in our country?
Again, yes and no. I've no problems with it in theory, and I don't have any better ideas. But when studios start a) changing the end of Brazil b) cancelling the series Firefly c) being generally useless about Tideland d) splitting Grindhouse in half, I start to think that possibly it's a bad idea. Studio suits get me really incensed sometimes; so yes, we need another better system.

Are you a fan? Of a star...a writer...a director?
Do you even need to ask?

Are you an "avid"? How often do you go to the cinema?
Well I presume this means an obsessive film fan. Er...keeps own blog CHECK...references film on every occasion CHECK...three movie calenders, ten movie posters and a Middle Earth map CHECK...sewing own huggable Rosencrantz toy *blushes*. OK, I'm an avid! As for the cinema thing, I've seen 300, Blood Diamond, Blades of Glory, Hot Fuzz twice and something else I've forgotten already this year. Which is a record for me - I've usually got a pretty low interest in upcoming film, at least the sort of films which end up at our cinema *adds pretentious taste to the list*

Do you use DVD? What is the impact of this technology on your film watching?
Who doesn't, these days? Most "special features" aren't really that special - the bumper fantastic packages come with films I care little for. The best special features I've ever seen were on our Memento three-disc edition - genuinely interesting details about production, interviews with interesting people, the original short story, the entire film in chronological order and a directors commentary with two different endings (at a certain point, dear Mr Nolan explains either why Teddy is definitely telling the truth OR definitely lying. Cheeky beggar...). It's the mark of a good set because it enhances your viewing experience. I hate nothing more than ones where the cast smile and say what a great time they all had, that the director was talented and wonderful, that they think the movie was really great. This comment aimed squarely at The Mummy Returns. Now the recent Mummy movies are kinda underrated - they're great fun, and I love them - but geez I wanted to die watching the contractually-obliged special features. They didn't even justify why they had 5 canopic jars in the movie instead of the historical 4!
(Mind you...Friend 4's copy of R+GaD came last week. We sat through four solid hours of interviews. And enjoyed most of them too (Tom Stoppard, director/writer/genius, spoke very slowly about interesting things, which stretched his out to about an hour and a half; Richard Dreyfuss really spooked us by randomly falling into the accent he'd used for the film, and was interesting for the first 15 minutes or so; Gary Oldman spoke for a very very long time, but then he's had a long career and can still remember most of it; Tim Roth recounted the same on set stories as Gary had in a slightly different order, then recounted the same on set story about getting hired for Res Dogs as QT does on that disc in a slightly different order, but still came out with the best interview by virtue of only speaking for 45 minutes.)

What exactly is a mainstream audience?
They're a boring, unadventurous menace to society. They talk at the cinema and think Star Wars (or The Matrix for that matter...) is a cult movie. They haven't heard of Terry Gilliam, except possibly as third-python-on-the-left. They won't watch anything in black and white or with subtitles. They need to be culled; or at least locked in a small dark room with nothing but a copy of Videodrome for company.

What, if anything, is wrong with British cinema?
Two things. The first thing is that Serious British Artists want to make films about Britain, when the majority of people don't care. It's the same way there's no "great female directors", because female directors always seem to make films about women's issues (and the predominantly male movie-going audience isn't desperately interested. Hell, I'm not interested!). And secondly (kudos dad for spotting this one) we don't make entertaining movies. All the successful British films I can think of (Lock, Stock, Full Monty, Trainspotting, Hot Fuzz, Ealing comedies, James Bond etc...) are great fun - yesterday I pointed out the British are known for their costume dramas, historical epics and social-commentaries. NONE of those genres are known for their amusement value.

What is Hollywood?
See: mainstream audience. It wanted to cut Brazil and give it a cheesy ending. End. Of. Story.

What do you think your generation should do to contribute to the future of British film?
Nothing. Nobody gives a damn. Except Woody Allen, and he's just taking advantage of the tax breaks over here.
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