Heroes and Baddies

Heroes need baddies to be heroes, they also need good lines and more than a little wit, in my humble opinion. Why have my thought wondered here? This week I’ve seen Hellboy, Captain Marvel (for the second time) and Shazam. Yes, I know there’s a new Avengers film out, the cinema was crawling with fans, I’ll savour the anticipation a bit longer, plus I wanted to hear Ben Mendelsohn’s antipodean drawl again.

First up, Hellboy, ummm. I do feel sorry for David Harbour, I mean, no matter how much he tried to make it his own, well, Ron Perlman, nuff said. But, if you can cast Big Ron out of your head then David Harbour was good, in an eighties movie way. This is an eighties movie – not brilliant, not as good as it could be, gory, clunky, but fine with popcorn! The soundtrack was fun (its always good to hear Welcome to My Nightmare) and Ian McShane seems to be everywhere these days, no bad thing. It’s no del Toro movie but it’s fun, just a tad clunky.

Next.

Shazam! Nope, still a moose. I do like Mark Strong and he does make a great baddie, but I prefer my baddies wittier than this, more sardonic, he did what he could with it. That aside, another fun popcorn movie with a lot of heart, Zachary Levi was great but the thing I will always remember about Shazam! is how much Billy Batson, played by Asher Angel looks like Arya Stark (Maisie Williams). Honestly, the resemblance is uncanny, I found it distracting at times.

And did you know…

I ❤ Brie Larson. She can be in my army (I’ll tell you about that another time), feisty, funny, fierce, my kinda gal. Yes I know how brilliant she was in Room, but I’d rather watch Free Fire again. And did you know Brie has directed a film? Unicorn Store (she produced, directed and starred in it) I saw it at the Edinburgh Film Festival, not a great film but I enjoyed it. If you check out reviews it didn’t go down well, on the other hand as one reviewer pointed out there were a lot of Brie haters over her Captain Marvel casting, so read with salt to hand! Hell, She got Samuel L Jackson to be in it!

And finally.

Captain Marvel rocks, and Jude Law as the baddie! Brits do made fine villains. Oops, err, spoiler alert?! Well, you should have seen it sooner! Personally I always find Jude Law’s characters on the dubious side, is he good at portraying ambiguously moral characters or is just the way he acts? Watching a second time yesterday it was good to see it knowing the truth, but I rooted for Talos on my first watch, quite clearly he was just misunderstood! Kinda like the Gorgonites in Small Soldiers (god, I love that movie). I could even see myself going a third time before it goes, yes, it really is that good (and a cracking soundtrack).

Now I shall go dig out my Beach Boys 40 Greatest Hits, first track, second side, second disc, I do believe….

Toodle pip!

On the fringe of the light fantastic

As a young moose I loved Mary Poppins, I wanted her to take me on magical trips and dancing with penguins. A few evenings ago I fell in love with her all over again, what a gal! I for one thoroughly enjoyed Mary Poppins Returns, so much so, I intend to return to see it again before it leaves town. It’s  a snuggily warm blanket, so whimsical and quaintly British, with lots of little nods to the original, especially in the music with a few notes here and there from the earlier songs. All the cast were terrific, Emily Blunt is spot on as Poppins and Lin Manuel Miranda, well, I may have a bit of a crush on his smile!

And blimey Charlie – David Warner, Angela Lansbury and ol’ Dick too! Who says there’s no parts for old folks? And these are seriously old folk, I did the usual pastime of coming home from the cinema and spending the next hour or so on IMDB and the like checking out just how old they were, etc, and found out some rather interesting facts (well I thought so).

Most Interesting Fact I discovered, Beautiful Briny was actually originally intended for Mary Poppins but was cut, later to be used in Bedknobs and Broomsticks (another old favourite of mine). Angela Lansbury, of course, played the wonderful Eglantine Price; so great to see her again. She’s older that Dick Van Dyke by two months, a fine pair of nonagenarians!

How pleased was I to see David Warner playing Admiral Boom! On IMDB he’s listed as having 223 acting roles, okay so not all classics, but hey, there’s Star Trek, Twin Peaks, Babylon 5, The Omen, Time Bandits, Tron, The League of Gentlemen’s Apocalypse, and all manner of one-off appearances in tv shows. My college pals and I would always let out a cheer whenever he was spotted on screen, dunno how that started,  just one of those things!

And then there’s Binnacle, Admiral Boom’s man, he looked kind of familiar but I couldn’t place him. Apparently it’s one Jim Norton, first seen in The Face of Fu Manchu back in 1965 (a classic!). I spotted he was in an episode of The Adventures of Black Beauty (who remembers that from the 70s? Personally I preferred Follyfoot) in a long steady list of jobs that went Stateside in the 80s with L.A.Law, Cheers, Frasier, Star Trek Next Gen and even four episodes of Babylon 5! Ah, finally I found it, why he looked familiar – Father Ted’s Bishop Brennan! Of course!

Who’ll be the actors from today who’ll still be popping up in forty, fifty years time? Will this year’s crop of Fringers produce any future stalwarts of our screens?

Toodle pip!

 

The loveliest man on the Fringe

This award I would give to Aidan Goatley, he really is a lovely chap. I first saw him doing his show Ten Films With My Dad at the Voodoo Rooms in 2013. Since then there’s been The Joys of Retail, Mr Blue SkyThe Year of the Goat and this year’s Aidan Goatley is the Vicar’s Husband. Each year he has still also done Ten Films… which I love, it probably helps being a similar generation so the films are very much part of my own cultural references.

There was just one fairly obscure old black and white war film, with a young Thora Hird, that I didn’t know; I took a friend to see the show last year (any excuse to go back again) and she creased up in hysterics as she immediately recognised the film because of the young Thora Hird. On thinking, that same friend also almost ended herself at Year of the Goat when Aidan was slagging off his wife’s hometown, it only turned out to my friend’s hometown too! (she did agree with him)

You will have never seen a rant ranted as politely and so Britishly as Aidan Goatley rants, and I do find myself nodding and in fits of giggling agreement, for example, “street food” – if it’s indoors how can it be “street food”??! Totally with him on that one, a little favourite rant of my own in the last year or two. Oo, and Avatar, don’t get me started!! It’s wonderful to hear someone able to put voice to my own rants with so much eloquence.

I went to see this year’s new show The Vicar’s Husband  at Sweet Grassmarket and thoroughly enjoyed it, and not just because it’s in an air-conditioned room! That, of course, is a bonus, but on the other hand Ciao Roma did have the most sumptious ice cream to aid cooling. This year Aidan is also doing a few Ten Films … as podcasts with a different guest each time to chat about films, but sadly it’s also the last year he’s going to do Ten Films… So for one night only he’s doing Ten Films With You Pricks a look back at some of the horror stories of his time performing it. I have kinda mapped out my last few days of Fringe but, oo, I may have to work some jiggery-pokery to fit it in.

So if you happen to read this in Edinburgh before 25th August 2018, you still have a chance to see one of my favourite ever shows!

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Bruce 💘 Lily

Yes, Lily James has stolen my heart! Ok, so I’ve had a yen for her since Downton Abbey and then War & Peace. I’d heard Chris Evans on Radio 2 wax lyrical about her performance in Mama Mia! Here We Go Again! but yeah, crikey, and some. Her joie de vivre, the bonniest of smiles, and I think she may have had tips from her timelord boyfriend on how to fit an amazing wardrobe into one small suitcase! He’s one lucky guy that Matt Smith, but as he is the second best Doctor in the new run (yes, David Tennant beats him by a gnat’s crotchet) I reckon he’s worthy. I thoroughly enjoyed them both in the film of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. And her with wotsisname from GoT in Branagh’s Romeo & Juliet in 2016!! Talk about the passion, baby! Oo, and there was Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver, I really should watch that again sometime soon.

So yes, I did go to see Mama Mia! Here We Go Again! I may well go see it again depending on how long it stays around, but I reckon that could be some while yet. The casting of all the younger parts was good, but especially the girls, they really captured the essences of their older selves. Omid Djalili, an old Fringe favourite, was in his typical bit part (he’s the ticket guy at the pier). Dominic Cooper again was sadly underused but, well, it wasn’t his film to shine, and he’s just there as part of the eye-candy.

The only part that didn’t work for me was Cher as Donna’s mother. She really wasn’t much good – apart from the singing, ok that was a bit awesome. It was like some executive wanted to throw in a big wow factor and decided Cher was it. The film didn’t need her, you could edit out all references to her character and the film would still work perfectly fine. Sorry but I just felt she was incongruous to the rest of the film.

The final big musical number with all the main cast in Abba gear was wonderful, and didn’t they all sing amazingly – apart from Pierce Brosnan, again!

After that, home to beans on toast and Gotham. Man, that is so fine! After Gotham on E4 is Supernatural, a show that’s been going a long time now. Never saw earlier series but since it’s followed Gotham I’ve vaguely watched it, well the tv’s still on, but OMG tonight’s episode!!! Farscape went Looney tunes, Angel went muppet, tonight Supernatural joined the Scooby gang! Yay!!

All in all, this has been a rather good evening, even if it is finishing rather later than I intended.

Nitey nite, everybody, nitey nite  x

 

You should go see Incredibles too!

Just in from seeing Incredibles 2, wow, that was sooo good! Brad Bird is a genius! Tomorrow I’ll do Mama Mia 2 straight from work, see I’m getting in the film-going now before the Fringe starts on Wednesday. Nothing wrong with a bit of Abba – I’ll balance it up with some AC/DC in the car afterwards 😎

There’s pockets of frenzied activity around the town and bright young things wearing lanyards are buzzing everywhere. Posters adorn walls, fences, railings, lampposts. It’s nearly here!! The Death Squad are on their way, apparently by boat according to Facebook. By this time next week I’ll have seen nineteen shows, yay!

I will be putting photos n stuff on Facebook, just look for Bruce T Moose (the T is for Theo, bet you thought it was The, didn’t you?)

Here’s to a great August, I hope you all wherever you may be have as good a month as I intend to have   💛

TTFN

EIFF 2018 done and dusted

The Edinburgh International Film Festival for 2018 is over and done with, but did Supa Modo stay at No1 or did another film nudge it to No2? Nah! Supa Modo is a thing of rare beauty; there’s so many friends that I think would love it, I do hope it gets a decent release, not just a few arthouse cinemas.

A close second place was homegrown Anna And The Apocalypse, a fun zombie-filled musical set at Christmas (so a December release in cinemas would be great!) Typical teenager, she heads out to school, music blasting in her ears, singing and dancing down the street totally oblivious to everything around her – including that half the neighbours are now zombies attacking the still human half! This film has great songs, teenage angst, lots of laughs, plenty gore and fun ways to kill zombies; and whilst the young’uns were all generally excellent, it was great to see Mark Benton as Anna’s father and Paul Kaye is in blisteringly good form as a tyrannical Headmaster!

Joint third place to Unicorn Store and Humor Me. Unicorn Store, well, it has unicorn in it’s title (automatic points for that alone 😊) and Brie Larson not only stars in it but it’s her directorial debut, directoring no less than Samuel L. Jackson as the Salesman at said Unicorn Store. This is an oddball of a film with just the right amount of quirkiness and some beautifully played surreal and absurd moments. My only niggle was some of Kit’s (Larson) millennial traits, hey, I’m an older generation, they bugged me, ok!

Humor Me (clearly American from the misspelling of humour)  was a very different kettle of fish with the excellent casting of Elliott Gould and Jemaine Clement as father and son, along with great support from the likes of Bebe Neuwirth and Annie Potts (she’s wonderful as Meemaw in Young Sheldon)This is a slow charming film about families, aging and Jewish jokes; it has a well-balanced bittersweetness.

Also seen was Flammable Children by director Stephan Elliott (He did Priscilla Queen of the Desert). I did really enjoy it, just not as much as the above films but probably 4th equal with Blood Fest. It did have Guy Pierce and Kylie Minogue looking like you’ve never seen them before!! It’s an autobiographical look on Stephan’s early film-making career – think The Goldbergs in 1970’s Australia. Ah yes, this had a great Q&A afterwards, we found out he has upset family and friends with it and his sister says the queue outside her bedroom was not that long!

So that’s the Film Festival wrapped up, tomorrow the CAMRA Scottish Real Ale Festival begins at the Corn Exchange here in Edinburgh. Besides an awful lot of beer there’ll be 30+ ciders and perries, heaven 😊

Well, that’s my Film of the Fest found!

Three days since my last post and three more films from around the globe: Mug from Poland, The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond Of Matches a French Canadian film and Supa Modo from Kenya. Sometimes my ‘not getting’ a film is possibly as much to do with a different cultural way of looking at the world, as a film being ‘too arty’ for my tastes (or being just crap). Mug was ok, a very slow and deliberate film, not sure about the ending. The Little Girl …. was ok to odd, at least the ending made sense in it’s bittersweetness.

Sunday afternoon when the sun was blazing outside I hid myself away in the underground warren of the Odeon to see Supa Modo, jackpot!!! This will be, without doubt, my Film of the Fest this year. It had humour, pathos, grief, family issues, hope, defiance and just how amazing people can be when they come together. Jo, her sister Mwix and mother were brilliantly written and portrayed. We could see how the mother only wanted to protect her terminally ill daughter but she couldn’t see it was too much, Mwix’s love and positivity for her little sister was heartwarming and Jo herself just wanted to be a superhero. Just a perfectly formed film, and we even got a Q&A afterwards, despite it being the second showing! Usually there’s only a Q&A with the first screening (if there is one at all) so I wasn’t expecting there to be one.

Some films you hurry out of to avoid the Q&A, some films you wish you’d avoided the Q&A, but 5☆ to this one, Likarion Wainaina the director came across so well, he was interesting, informative and pretty cool. It was the sort of Q&A that makes you want to watch the movie again to appreciate the insights you’ve picked up; hearing about the children’s ward he visited that made him rethink the storyline and how he went back afterwards to show the film to the children; how the filming affected the lives of the people in the community. Yep, besides Best Film I’ll give it Best Q&A too!

There’s more musings on Q&As on last year’s Bruce goes to the movies

Toodle pip!

 

Late night at the Film Festival

Edinburgh nights in early summer are great, there’s always still that faint bit of light in the sky. It always takes me back to my college days, tipsyly walking back to my digs in Portobello after another night carousing at Grindlay Street Union. It was one such balmy night at one o’clock this morning as I left the Filmhouse, hence the photo!

First off after work I saw The Devil Outside, not horror but  disturbing and it left me with a sense of unease afterwards. An okay film but the ending was somewhat “huh!?!?” and by the end I felt it could have worked better as a tv series to really develop the characters.

Had a simple tea of mushrooms in cream on toast followed by a G&T to wash it down; strange, I don’t like cream per se, no cream cakes or trifle for me, but in recent years I find myself enjoying it in sauces like a little wicked decadence! At nearly eleven o’clock I headed out into the night.

Friday night in the old town has all manner of creatures out roaming. The Cowgate and Grassmarket will already be spawning debaucherous hordes. Spot the hapless family of tourists heading back to their hotel, anxiously trying not to make any eye contact. Despite the Cowgate being closed off to traffic after 10pm there’s always an odd car goes through, maybe a taxi and of course there’s always the pedicabs zooming about (my tablet just tried to turn pedicabs into pelicans, just as well I spotted that 😂!)

I made it to the Filmhouse in plenty of time to grab a drink from the bar to take into the Film. Blood Fest had attracted quite a crowd, and yes, being horror, there was Bob a few rows in front. Bob was a friend of a friend some years ago, I know who he is but he doesn’t know me, at least I don’t think he remembers me. I always see Bob at least once during every Film Festival, it’s a natural law it seems. Blood Fest was great fun, tongue-in-cheek, using all the cliched rules of the horror genre – think The Cabin in the Woods with added cheese!

By 1am on a weekend morning the Grassmarket/Cowgate route is not unlike a horror movie set, so I opted to head home via the Royal Mile. Interesting, another film being shot there by the City Chambers in the wee small hours, I wonder what this one will be. Will it appear at a future EIFF? Hmmm.

Toodle pip!

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On the fringe of St Valentine’s Day

Well I’ve had quite an interesting day, one that reminded me how cheerful and cheery life can be. I’m currently having my lounge decorated (I did strip it myself but the ceiling is quite high for a moose to do a decent job of papering and painting) and this morning I also had an electrician in to replace my old fuse box with a new flickswitch one; a decent chap, he observed that it must be busy in my neighbourhood during the Fringe, ahha a fellow fringer? Indeed, how nice to have an unexpected chat with another enthusiast.

The decorating is coming along nicely and though the telly had to come off the wall for it, I managed to reattach its table stand so each evening I’ve kept up with Babylon 5, just as well, it’s just got to the Whatever Happened to Babylon 4? bit, how great was that tonight? Ok, you’re probably wondering why I don’t just record it all then binge, well, I quite like the old-fashioned way of watching a programme when it’s on and looking forward to the next episode.

And on old-fashioned, I took myself off to the cinema late afternoon to see Early Man, the latest Nick Park creation, another quintessentially British feelgood, hurrah for the plucky underdog, movie. Yes, okay so it’s not on a par with the Wallace and Gromit films, but that’s a very steep peak to scale and they have the advantage of the Pedestal of Nostalgia. I did notice myself making the comparison in the first ten minutes but then, sometime later I realised I’d been well and truly sucked in by it’s humour; the characters all brilliantly voiced, including Hognob (by Nick Park!), a very dog-like wild boar; and a wonderfully daft storyline, but you think back to the Ealing Comedy plotlines, they didn’t much let commonsense stand in the way of a bit of fun! It’s not a film of great belly laughs, but you will chuckle, smile, nod in recognition, guffaw in surprise and leave with a warm, fussy glow – useful in these baltic temperatures just now.

Indeed, even mid afternoon in the bright sunlight it was a cold day. I had plenty of time so took a long detour to the cinema round the redeveloped canal basin area. I rather quite like what they’ve done there, which is not how I often feel about modern developments in Edinburgh!

Well, its now rather late and I am back in work tomorrow, so I’ll bid you good night and sweet dreams,

💘 Bruce x

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Paddington: The Fringe Show.

I just went back to see Paddington 2 for a second time, almost seven weeks after I first went to see it – I guess it’s a success, not many films stay on the big screen that long these days. Once back home I did that thing folk like to do these days, looked up the film on IMDb to see who’s done what where. But what! What! Tim Fitzhigham and Dan Antopolski were both in it and I missed them? Oh, and Cal McCrystal had a cameo besides being the Physical Comedy Consultant. FYI all Fringe favourites of mine.

Justin Edwards and Richard Ayoade were also in it, didn’t miss them, well it would be hard not to spot Richard Ayoade, who, incidentally, was being directed by Paul King (director of both Paddington films) in Garth Marenghi’s Netherhead the first time I saw him at the Fringe many years ago! One last tentative Fringe connection Tom Conti, well, I’ve seen him in town in August – up to see Nina?

In fact the first evening I saw Paddington 2, I saw Justin Edwards twice as he also had a part in The Death of Stalin (oh yes, two films in one evening with a trip to Nando’s sandwiched between them, well, I do have an unlimited viewings card). At the Fringe Justin Edwards had a magnificent creation the children’s entertainer Jeremy Lion, possibly one of my Desert Island Fringe Shows! More on him another time.

It is great when I see folk who I’ve seen in small, sweaty venues on the big screen, guess it reflects how long I’ve been fringing. Both Paddington films are excellent, having all the elements in the right proportions to make cinematic classics, and they came from a guy who first directed at the Fringe. What an inspiration! Crikey, I’ll be singing Circle Of Life next!

Next film I’ll go see may well be Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by Martin McDonagh, who also wrote the bloodiest play I’ve ever seen, or will probably ever see again, at the Fringe,  The Lieutenant Of Inishmore. See another Fringe connection!