Friday, 31 August 2012

FrightFest 2012 Day 2.1: Zombie Nazis And Fearless 3D

On to day two at FrightFest, a full on day with five films back to back. It was an odd day, with a very uneven line-up, an audience who was suffering from mid-festival fatigue, and a screening which has already made FrightFest history, perhaps not quite for the right reasons.

Isn't it nice when a film truly matches your expectations? I went into the first film of the day, Outpost 2: Black Sun expecting nothing and I got nothing out of it, being glacially boring. Kudos to its hyperactive producer however, who was busy distributing leaflets outside the Empire Leicester Square advertising an i-phone game based on the film, and brought on stage two actors (not from the film) dressed up as nazi zombies.

Monday, 27 August 2012

FrightFest 2012 Day 1: Dario Argento, V/H/S and [REC] 3


Among all the film festivals I attend throughout the year, horror film fest FrightFest in London is my guilty pleasure. For any fan, there is no better place to watch horror films than in a massive, packed screen with an adoring audience who laughs, screams and applauds at all the right places. The atmosphere is fantastic and very sociable, the organisation is brilliant, with a programme packed with surprises, guest appearances, new trailers, and more often than not Q&A's with the cast and crew at the end of each screening.

Plus I always love the idea of watching as many films as possible back to back, without the thirty minutes adverts, with a truly appreciative and passionate crowd. Indeed it is sad the way I almost cannot be bothered watching films in multiplexes any longer, because of their utter disrespect for film, so film festivals are my lifeline. And Fright Fest 2012 did not disappoint! Well me anyway as I appreciate some have lamented the quality of films on display this year, but personally, I saw at least 5 films who would deserve a spot on my top 10 this year so far.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Eccentricities Of A Blonde Haired Girl

Veteran Portuguese director Manoel De Oliveira is 103. Yes, 103 years old. Which gets to prove that an interesting, creative life full of culture doing what you love will make you near immortal. And the man does not stop working, which is a bit crazy. One of this latest films, Eccentricities of a Blonde Haired Girl (2009), one which I wanted to see based on its title alone, is an enchantment, filled with invention and romanticism, most definitely the work of a young man!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

My Top 3 Cats In Films

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed a worrying increase in non-films, cat-related tweets. I love cats, every since we rescued a cat that had been thrown out of a car outside our appartment building when I was 15. He died 6 months later and I'm still crying to this day. So cats in films, a rich subject. Except that I will not bother with anthropomorphism, or mention Puss in Boots, as hilarious as he is. Instead, I present to you films which faithfully portray cats as us cat lovers know them too well.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Through Guy Maddin's Keyhole

Guy Maddin is one of the most interesting directors working at the moment. He has built his own inimitable style, which I could describe as playfully experimental, with nods and tributes to silent and black and white films well before it became fashionable, as well as a sizeable influence from his home town, Winnipeg in Canada.

But Guy Maddin is a bit naughty. The BFI in London had organised a preview of Keyhole as a fundraising event, with all the profits going towards the director's next project, a remake of sorts of Alfred Hitchcock's lost film, The Mountain Eagle. Except that the director did not turn up! Instead, he sent us a video message that was hilarious but not quite enough to compensate the disappointment of his absence. Although it seems fitting that for a film about spirits like Keyhole, his director was with us, well, in spirit at least!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Sight & Sound: A Filmic Re-Education

If you are following my blog, you might have come across the interblogs film challenge I tackled last month, along with Martyn Conterio from Cinemart, where we listed our favourite films of all time. We published it daily, film by film, just as British film magazine Sight & Sound was about to publish it own, as it has done every decade for over fifty years now, having compiled the results from hundreds of critics' lists

Ours were lists of passion, with no snobbery, no showing off, with no other criteria than our love for film in general, and those films we picked in particular. I lamented the lack of classics in mine but I was not going to put some titles just to impress and to give it some credibility, and I still stand by it. Having said that, now that Sight & Sound has published its own list, I do feel a little guilty and inadequate.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

My Problems With Mulholland Drive

Mulholland Drive found itself at number 28 on the latest Sight & Sound Greatest films of all times list, as voted by various critics from around the world, above classics such as Stalker and The Godfather 2, with the second highest ranked film from David Lynch, Blue Velvet, finding itself at 67.

It should be fairly obvious by now that I am a huge Lynch fan. INLAND EMPIRE is my favourite film of all times, and I count most, if not all of his other films among my favourites. Yet there is that one, that particular one that I have a few problems with. No, not Dune (although this is my least favourite of his!), surprisingly, it is indeed Mulholland Drive.

Friday, 10 August 2012

I Against I Review

As a proud Londoner who will never grow tired of this amazing city, I am puzzled as to why no modern directors have been able or even willing to convey all of the beauty and mystique of the big smoke recently, especially at night. The louche London discovered at the back of taxis during night time escapades, the randomness of its architecture, the cold and unusual charm of empty Docklands streets and their towering glass buildings, the soulless corridors of the Jubilee Line and DLR, the thousand bars it would take you a lifetime to all discover, the wealth of potential stories thanks to the most varied and exciting population on Earth... Only last night I discovered the King's Cross Social Club, a unlikely mixture of grubby indie rock dive and upmarket pub, lovingly nimbed in red neon light. I thoroughly recommend it, so much so that I feel the need to include a picture, so there you are, just below.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

In The Dark Half - Seriously spooky

Stunning film from Alastair Siddons dealing with grief and loss. This is a subtlety powerful film that draws you in slowly, to the world of 15yr old Marie and the events surrounding the sudden death of her neighbours son, Sean. He mysteriously dies whilst she is babysitting him one night.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

SPOILER People Dying Like Marion Cotillard

SPOILER Do not read if you have not seen, aherm, well I cannot say the title as it would be too spoilerific already. Erm do not read unless you have seen the latest film with that French Oscar winning actress. No, not the one she presented at the Cannes film festival this year. Anyhow, further down this post, I have a link to a tumbler that is not exactly charitable towards her yet incredibly funny.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Catherine Deneuve In A Bath: A Trilogy

Are you a fan of sultry and iconic French actress Catherine Deneuve? Would you like to see her in a bath? Would you like to see her in a bath with another woman?? It's your lucky day. As I was watching Pola X by Leos Carax, seeing Miss Deneuve in a bath reminded me of all her other great scenes in a bath, including two of them featuring another woman. So in no particular order, I present to you, the Catherine Deneuve in a bath trilogy.

Synchronised Swimming Duet Performs To Goblin

As I mentioned a few days ago in a previous post, I have decided to make this blog even more personal. So that means only focusing on film news when it truly matters, and quite happily discussing older films or just anything that I come across and which I feel you might find interesting, as long as it is unusual, surreal, experimental, or just plain bonkers. Therefore I shall not be discussing how Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby adaptation has been pushed back from Christmas 2012 to the summer of 2013. Because you will have read this in hundreds of other film sites already, and quite frankly, the trailer is hideous. Instead, I present to you the video of a Russian synchronised swimming duet performing to Goblin's soundtrack to Suspiria. Which is a hell of a lot more exciting!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

A Simple Life Review

Set in modern day Hong KongA Simple Life is the story of Ah Tao (Deannie Yip) a maid who has lived and worked for the same Chinese family for 60 years. With the family now largely living in America, Ah Tao takes care of the remaining family member, Roger (House of Flying Daggers’ Andy Lau). Roger, unmarried and now middle aged works as a successful film producer in the Chinese movie industry. Not wanting for money, Roger lives a frugal life and is frequently mistaken for a blue collar worker due to his low key clothing. Ah Tao serves him gourmet meals and keeps their home spotless. Food is a central theme within the film that allows for the expression of love and compassion along with its associated memories. Used to the status quo of their relationship - a life long one for Roger - how Ah Tao and Roger relate to each other changes when the elderly Ah Tao has a stroke. Not wanting to be a burden to Roger, Ah Tao insists on moving into an old folks’ home with Roger being her only person or ‘family’ left to visit her.