Archive for the ‘popular film’ Category

Ooops; I forgot to blog, my bad.

November 26, 2008
MILk - Sean Penn as the Milk Man

MILk - Sean Penn as the Milk Man

Argh; I haven’t written anything for the longest time.

It is an annoying irony of blogging – and diaries in general – that the more you do, the less time you have to document it.

I have been busy every single night this week – and actually was double booked for tonight – so freaked out and stayed at home. (Well, kinda – I visited an old friend and went to Pogo for a Punk burger.)

Yesterday I saw Lemon Tree, the uber-PC Israeli film that launched the UK Jewish film festival here last week and on Monday I saw Gus Van Sant’s MILK. MILK is awesome; so fucking ripe what with all this Prop 8 bullshit.

MILK - getting the campaign started

MILK - getting the campaign started

Sean Penn is totally great in it; and I hate Penn as much as anyone else with a sense of humour. But, then again, he did made Vedder-fest, Into The Wild and he and I seem to love Emile Hirsch (now that’s a decent German name) as much as each other so I guess I was starting to give the guy another go.
But, seriously, he’s wonderful as Harvey Milk – totally charming, cute, passionate, dedicated to his righteous cause.

Old skool womens Mag

Women's Mags; they'll make you fat and lonely

Spare Rib - awesome!

Spare Rib - awesome!

Erm, what else have I done? Oh yes – Saturday I went to the Woman’s Library in Whitechapel as my friend had put my name down for the Study Day about woman’s magazine through the ages.

It was SO great to be in an academic setting, talking seriously about pop culture. I miss that! And, the best thing? All the ‘old women’ and Sue O’Sullivan (co-editor of Spare Rib 1979 to 1984).

Seriously, I’m 24, and I was like, the youngest. I was so enthused to see and meet these retired women who although over 60, were lecturers, private tutors or studying themselves.

Every coffee break (NB – good biscuits) saw me meet another amazing woman, inlcuding a member of DIVA’s editorial team (deffo below 60) and a cognitive therapist (over 60.)



I was also introduced to NOVA magazine – old issues of which look totally cutting edge even today.

Anyway, more about that later – I’m going to watch Gregg Araki‘s TOTALLY FUCKED UP now and I can’t wait – even though it’s really bed time…

Totally Fucked UP - Pecadillo Pictures

Totally Fucked UP - Pecadillo Pictures


Sugar at the London Film Festival

October 14, 2008

Friday was so fun.

Jonas Curaon - hes so cute.

Jonas Curaon - he's so cute.

I began my day talking to Alfonso Cuarón’s son Jonás, who had made the startlingly modern, Año Uña which hits cinemas next week. Dressed in a blue suit, and contentedly talking to journo after journo asking the same questions (what’s it like to have a famous dad?), he was uber-articulate but nevertheless, I didn’t really feel like I ‘cracked’ him.

I asked quetions, he gave me answers, but we didn’t bond in the way the best interviews allow – which is weird, I thought, since he’s only a year older than me.

Anyway, after that, I cycled back South to meet a friend for the BFI screening of Sugar, as part of the London Film Festival.

Having not read my notes, I had persuaded my pal to come on the proviso that we’d be watching a documentary about basketball players, like Madball but with legs. Whoops. No, it’s a scripted film about a trained baseball player from the Dominican Republic who is recruited to play the Minor Leagues in the USA.

I was also really excited to see that it was made by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the team behind 2006’s Half Nelson, which also debuted at the London Film Festival two years ago.

Algenis Perez Soto (Sugar), Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck

Algenis Perez Soto (Sugar), Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck

They’re a really interesting pair and make kind of preaching-to-the-converted-films about social problems   very cool way (hip soundtracks,featuring, TV on The Radio or Arcade Fire etc, great styling).

I really enjoyed Sugar, and despite its attack on the scuminess of consumerist America ( a layce that buys in talent for short-term golas and spits it out again – in this case with third-world baseball players), it made me really want to go back. And that’s not just me being a superficial sicko, it’s because I fall for things like great music, styling and story-telling.

Swoon-attack; its Ryan Golsing as distressed teacher in Half-Nelson

Swoon-attack; it's Ryan Gosling as distressed teacher in Half-Nelson

Anna and Ryan are romantics, they pick romantic, flawed leads, the impossibly handsome Ryan Gosling as the crack-addicted high school teacher in half Nelson, and Sugar, the guy who trains his whole life to play baseball and jacks it in for carpentry on a minimum wage. I fall for the leads and want to go where they go – so that’s white, liberal, trendoid Brooklyn with Ryan Gosling and back again with Sugar and his Spanish-speaking friends.

The film was too sickly for my friend, but he hates everything so ‘meh’ to him.

That Malcolm Mcdowell Story

October 4, 2008
IF - my mum really wants you to watch it

IF - my mum really wants you to watch it

I have a friend who is not, or indeed was not, a Malcolm McDowell fan, but’s he’s doing some freelance work for the men’s free weekly magazine, Shortlist.

So he Gchats me the other day:

WTF do I ask Malcolm McDowell? I don’t know who he is”.

“Say, when my friend was dragged out of her bed by her mum at the tender age of around 10 to watch “IF…“, was her mum doing the right thing?” I said.

Because that friend is me. Oh – and McDowell is promoting the DVD release of ‘NEVER APOLOGIZE’ (sic), a filmed anecdote-filled lecture about IF-director, Lindsay Anderson via Shortlist and others, but my friend didn’t know at the time.

Shortlist - the launch issue, 2007

Shortlist - the launch issue, 2007

My mum, liker her hero Margaret Thatcher, doesn’t need much sleep.

If it’s 2 am she’s probably hoovering, making jam with her allotment-grown berries or watching either a schlocky Robert Rodriquez-esque (she likes him but not Tarantino…ridicuous) movie or an art-house movie on BBC 2.

Anyway, when I was about 10 or 12, I was in bed one night, just drifting off into sleep, when I get woken up by my mum tugging my arm.

“Bienchen” , she says. It means “little bee” in German, and is my family nickname. ” Get out of bed, ‘IF…” is on tv and it’s a good film, you should watch it.”

This is the Biene Maja, the bee Im inexplicably named after

This is the Biene Maja, the bee I'm inexplicably named after

So, I’m groggy and in pjs, but go downstairs and watch it with mum.

I’m like, way too young and don’t really get why this is more important than a good night’s sleep before school, but the memory has stayed with me forever. (I don’t even think she remembers it.)

It’s funny because it is about rebelling against British private school and there I was the next morning going to one….

McDowell - hes the reason I flunked that years 6 maths test...

O Lucky Man 0McDowell - he's the reason I flunked that Year 6 maths test...

Anyway, I heard back from my freelancing friend that night:

“He was really into it. He says your mum did the right thing, he says “IF…” is a very important film.”

And then, totally unrelated my mum emails me.

She says: ‘I have just voted in that BFI Visions For The Future thing, where you vote for the one film you want to show future generations, as part of its 75th birthday. I voted for Lindsay Anderson’s ‘IF…” because it such a good film.”

As I said, she won’t remember dragging me outta bed that night; so this unrelated interview and vote thing pretty much shows how deadset she is on future generations (me, in her case), seeing the movie.

Also, she’s totally awesome because clearly, she thinks like Stewart Tillman, chair of the UK Film Council, who was the one who said IF should be in the top 75 films on which people should vote. (His video interview here)

Nuts. I’m thinking, maybe I’ll rent it…. or if it wins the nations vote, it’ll be screened at the Southbank in January anyway. Bring your sleepy kids!

Malcolm Mcdowell - then

Malcolm Mcdowell - then

N.B : I had a poke around on Shortlist, but its search functionality seems to not work, as I typed in four journalists’ names that work there and it couldn’t find anything, including the eventual McDowell piece.

Secret Cinema presents a Night at The Opera

October 3, 2008
A Night At The Opera (1935)

A Night At The Opera (1935)

Secret Cinema (sponsored by Nokia) is a monthly occurrence in the capital.

Previous nights have included a screening of Lindsay Anderson’s “IF…” (funny story about that and its star Malcom McDowell to come later) in PG Wodehouse’s old school, Dulwich College and Paranoid Park in a disused rail tunnel.

The idea is that you sign up for monthly reminders of the screening, hand over your money (online) and then turn up, dressed in whatever attire they recommend.

This month it was at the Hackney Empire, which I thought sounded a bit rubbish compared to the previous events. But – there was a queue around the block to get in as I was locking the bike.

Not the Hackney Empire, but you get the idea

Not the Hackney Empire, but you get the idea

But it was totally magical – and one of the best film screenings of my life; surpassing last Friday’s midnight movies by a mile. Midnight movies is a great idea but I believe it is run by just two people, who do the best they can (and a great job at that, we djs and famous folk to pick ad introduce the screenings) but, the work invested in SECRET CINEMA is unsurpassed.

Most were dressed in their finest; 1920’s-30’s style night-time regalia and a harp player sat strumming at the top of the stars. Two women in red doled out vintage hard-boiled sweets in paper bags (rhubarb & custard! Lemon drops!) and then, once seated, two couples in opera boxes across the theatre acted out a scene from the movie.

And then we saw some Future Shorts, a silent movie with live piano accompaniment by a lovely lady in black called Lily Farthing (check out this dude, Stanley Mchale – he’s all about Lily Farthing), some  more scenes of the fothcoming movie and then – it began!

Ship cabins - you aint got money, you aint got space

Ship cabins - you ain't got money, you ain't got space

The atmosphere was great – we were all clapping after every song; more so than at Midnight Movies. I laughed so hard, I cried when the Marx brothers were fooling that cop with the old room switcheroo.

It was the best possible way to see a Marx brothers’ film ( and my first at that), which of course if secret Cinema’s point.

In much the same way that little white lies magazine expands the topic of a film in each issue, allowing the film fans who write fr  it to run wild with a theme, so its the same here. Exceeding the idea of simply reviewing or screening a film makes you learn more about it and have a freakin’ blast at the same. Horray!
Here’s how the invite read:


Secret Venue, London.

Friday 3rd October, 8pm.

Lords and Ladies, Dukes and Duchesses, Partisans and Plebeians and the Claypool Foundation of Arts.

If we could draw your closest attention…

Secret Cinema in association with NOKIA will take place this Friday 3rd of October at 8pm at the Hackney Empire, 291 Mare St, London.

Please gather no later than 7.45pm at the theatre. Doors shall open at 8pm.

Dress should be majestic and wondrous for this shall be an evening of wild, wild romance, honey song, long journeys, laughter and dance.

Lords fetch your top hats. Ladies your most treasured frocks. Plebeians caps and leather shoes if you can..

Good Luck.

P.S. Remember – tell no-one.


Midnight Movies at the Curzon Soho – John Waters’ CRY BABY

September 28, 2008
Cry Baby (1990)

Cry Baby (1990)

The midnight movie, mainstay of the American alternative scene in 1970s has all but dried up.

I mean, there are pockets of witching hour showings like this one, but in England it’s seen an a tribute to an American way of life, where the public transport doesn’t stop when when the moon comes out.. (or indeed, to a country where the car is king).

With the internet facilitating The Long Tail, whereby any film (and pretty much anything you desire) can be summoned at your convenience because alt. items are no longer priced out of business due to not selling enough in addition to high store rents (the flat-earth the net created means your bedroom can be your warehouse) , we can see any blockbuster or almost as easily as we can see re-runs of an old show (hello, my so-called life) as well as an indie no-budget flick.


my so-called life

my so-called life

However, as of the start of September, the Curzon cinema in Soho has just breathed life into the midnight movie, and was last Friday showing John Waters’ CRY BABY. Horray!

So after that BUCk think (see previous post), I headed to Shaftesbury Avenue only to spot bookworm comedian Robin Ince lurking outside the cinema.

I perused the DVDs inside while I waited for the hubby to turn up after Critical Mass. (Apparently it was super-aggressive this month, following last month’s over-zealous police activity, this month saw no police turnout but a lot of angry cabs and camera-stealing kids, says he.)

Anyway, he arrived with but minutes to spare so we got inside (he loaded with popcorn) and, after a so-so intro from Ince, who’s choice the screening of Cry Baby was, settled down to watch one of the world’s silliest musicals.

Interesting fact alert: The guy and girl behind the Curzon’s midnight movie screenings apparently make no money from it, and are just doing it outta love. Yay! Love!

They had lined the cinema’s walls with pics of Johnny Depp (below) photoshopping his head into a cutesy pink heart. (On the way out, we stole one we we now have a heart-shaped Johnny crying at us from our bedroom wall….)

Johnny Depp as Cry Baby - he knows how hot he is

Johnny Depp as Cry Baby - he knows how hot he is

The next midnight movie takes place on halloween, and is an all night screening of Scream, Blacula Scream with others and brekkie in the morning!


Scream Blacula Scream - blaxploitation at midnight!

Scream Blacula Scream - blaxploitation at midnight!

Hell Boy 2 – Anna Walton vs Samantha Morton

August 24, 2008

I watched Hell Boy 2 last week with some friends. Apart from Batman: The Dark Knight (which I saw in Leicester Square’ Odeon to ramp up excitement levels), this is pretty much the first big budget comic book adaptation I’ve seen.

I saw Ghost World back in the day, but that doesn’t really count.

Thora and Scarlet c. 2001

Thora and Scarlet c. 2001

Anyway, the thing that struck me was how similar British actress Anna Walton looks to (also British) Samantha Morton.

Anna Walton

Anna Walton

Spooky, huh?

Samantha Morton

Samantha Morton

If I had to choose, I know who I’d go with.

The two Sams

Control: The two Sams

Ouch! Those some fine-looking films

August 23, 2008

Savage Grace boys

Savage Grace boys

From Tom Kalin to Terrence Malick, Ron Fricke, Sofia Coppola and Yimou Zhang, my tastes run high and low.

Savage Grace

Savage Grace

I have a problem with traditional film reviews – those that focus on the star system/plot/character.



While they make sense and can offer sage, practical advice, I want this blog to offer a beautiful alternative.

Terrence Malick's Days Of Heaven (1978)

Days Of Heaven

So, this blog is about sensory sustinance – borne out of a realisation that I don’t have to 100 per cent love the film to enjoy its visuals.

Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette

Like, I love the way Sofia Coppola‘s movies look. I hugely dislike her subject matter, and because I can’t usually be so frivolous as to just talk aesthetics, the time is right to make my own space.

House Of Flying Daggers

House Of Flying Daggers

So, in essence, joining an appreciation of quirky aesthetics, solo downtime (when else to watch movies and blog about them) and, fine-looking films, Ofilia will highlight the most stunning of offerings.

In The Mood For Love

In The Mood For Love