Nah, it’s not really that inconceivable that I haven’t posted for a month, not if you know me – life, huh; but what is inconceivable is the sheer brilliance of The Princess Bride on the big screen, oh I’ve watched it many times, but tonight I saw it in my local cinema for it’s 30th anniversary outing. Wow! Awesome!

It was almost sold out, you could feel the love in the air, the anticipation of favourite lines, THAT sword fight! Memories of first renting the video from Blockbuster so many years ago, Peter Cook exclaiming “Mah-widge!”, the Albino rasping, “You are in the Pit of Despair” to then clear his throat and say it again, oh how we howled with laughter realising it was Mel Smith, but none of us guessed Billy Crystal, though now he doesn’t look that different from Miracle Max. Whatever happened to Fred Savage? (loved The Wonder Years) and the wonderful Peter Falk, perfect as the Grandfather.

This was an “all round to mine for lasagne with plenty of wine” film, my lasagne was rather a hit. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was another that we discovered in the video store, both became cult classics. I do remember a chum who was a fencing coach waxing lyrical about the swordfight (then he would always go on to the sword fight on ice in one of the Musketeer films – the Michael York et al ones) pointing out what made it so brilliant, usually rewinding it to watch again.

There’s wit and humour, derring-do and pathos, drama and slapstick, and one of my favourite lines ever….

“Hallo, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!”



Never babysit an anxious hound.

Really, don’t! Even in the night I’d be disturbed by my door opening as he checked I was still there. So no fringe shows, just walking and more walking. We did take a brief trip down to Portobello beach for a run on the sand followed by coffee at Miro’s on the Esplanade, ok, so we had cake too. Damn fine coffee, friendly table service, scrumptious sticky toffee cake, just a shame pooch wasn’t one for chilling and watching the world go by. Thankfully he went home this morning, yay.

So from paranoid pooches to good bears – I much prefer a Goodbear! Goodbear are a comedy duo, Henry Perryment and Joe Barnes who are now finely tuned to tweaking funny bones. This is the third year I’ve seen them at the Fringe and they just get better and better. This year the Apres Vie Hotel is the setting for their strange, often rather creepy, creations in sketches which twist in the most unexpected ways. It’s the twists that they do so well and they’re so charming too. I predict great things for both of them.

Also back was Aidan Goatley doing an updated version of his 2013 show Ten Films With My Dad, which was a free show at the Voodoo Rooms, next he moved to the room downstairs at Ciao Roma. TOP TIP – buy some of their icecream if you’re going to a show at Ciao Roma because i) it’s bloody roasting down there, and ii) it’s sooo good, I would recommend a scope of the sea buckthorn with a scope of the mango, heaven in a tub!

Last year Aidan moved on to the paying Fringe, which was ironic as I bought a ticket at the Half Price Hut for £4 – I always give a fiver at free fringe shows! He is an hour of joy and amusement at life’s foibles, there is an occasional slight rant, like last year’s about “street food” on which I am in total agreement with him. This year’s rant was about Avatar and again I find myself supporting his stance, quite obviously a man of intellect and taste. Highlight was his telling of going to Chicago with his Dad, with his synopsis of Escape to Victory a close second. He’s finished his Fringe run for this year, worth remembering his name for next year.

Let’s make this a trio of rib ticklers and mention Sleeping Trees, who have moved to Pleasance Dome this year, once again at the Movies: Mafia, Western and Sci-fi. The live score is superb and adds so much to the show. The physical and verbal comedy of these chaps is outstanding with some surrealism thrown in for good measure. They’re also doing Sleeping Trees and the Chocolate Factory again at the Pleasance Courtyard on Friday and Saturday evenings, it’s not in the Fringe Programme so almost feels like a cosy secret for the fans. Which reminds me I really should get a ticket!


Bruce goes to the movies II

So that’s another film festival done and dusted. I was pretty pleased with my choices, two retro, two Russian sci-fi, an Aussie musical, vampires in Hong Kong and crime in Japan and Taiwan, fairly global. EMO the Musical was a delight with it’s typical brusque Aussie humour and biting wit (think Tim Minchin), there’s something wrong if it doesn’t get at least a limited release here.

The two Russian films were subtitled but I think both Attraction and Guardians had dubbed versions. Guardians is superheroes Russian style, which is fairly cheesy but lots of fun with some pretty good special effects. Attraction was much the superior film for me, though I’m not sure the heroine would have been so inclined to help the alien if he hadn’t been such a hunk.

The Mole Song – Hong Kong Capriccio from Japan was my final film today and a fine finale it was. So colourful, crazy and full-on following the exploits of an undercover cop involved with a Yakuza boss and his teenage daughter.

My best film though has to be Time Bandits this afternoon. Daft, dark and utterly brilliant.

Bruce goes to the movies

It’s time once again for the Edinburgh International Film Festival, not that most people here notice it. Really, it doesn’t seem impinge on the consciousness of the Edinburgh public at all. I mention I’m going to see some films at the Festival and it’s “Oh has it come round again? Doesn’t seem like a year”.

Up until 2007 it was on in August, so colliding with the Fringe and International Festivals, as if the town wasn’t busy enough! It was usually over the last ten days of the Fringe, as we wised up to this we started waiting until the Film Festival programme came out before booking ourselves up and missing out on good films. Yeah, my Fringe buddy shared my love of films too and between us we could get the discount deals.

It’s good to go to screening where there’s a Q&A afterwards, even if the film turns out to be awful or dull, in fact that can be more fun watching the Festival guy trying to enthuse about the film with it’s director. Probably one of the most interesting Q&As was with Paul Schrader in 2005 after a showing of Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist. This was his original prequel to The Exorcist before the studio decided to completely refilm it. Was he bitter? Not half! But he did have a great story to tell and he suggested we, if we hadn’t already, should watch the other version. Oo, we did, yikes!! It truly was awful and not just in comparison with Mr Schrader’s work, which, incidentally we thoroughly enjoyed.

That same year we saw the premiere of Tsotsi by Gavin Hood. What attracted us to it? Our keen sense of things to try was as honed for films as for stage shows, wow, it was a wonderful film and we came back again and again to Tsotsi’s fate after the final scene. Watch it and decide for yourself.

2006 saw the first cinematic outing for the Treadaway twins, Harry and Luke, in Brothers of the Head. I spotted this one as a few years before I’d bought a battered old copy of the book, written by Brian Aldiss, at the Meadows Fair. This was a very disturbing tale of siamese twins (with a third dormant head) with exploitation, rock stardom, jealously and rage. The third head doesn’t appear in the film version (I’m pretty sure), there was probably enough to do without that complication.

After the oddity of Brothers the following night was Clerks II by the great Kevin Smith, not the first showing, those tickets would have gone in a trice, but there still a huge buzz to be seeing it.

Mind, the biggest buzz of all my film festivals was the world premiere of Serenity, we queued quite some time for it, all the main cast were there and Joss Whedon, all very happy to meet the fans and not only at the premiere but all the additional screenings,  we saw Adam Baldwin at the fourth! Yeah, so I’m a Whedon fan.

This year? Saw Vampire Cleanup Department late last night, it has the cutest vampire ever and also probably the funniest way for vampires to get about that you’ll ever see. I have my ticket for Repo Man and another bit of nostalgia, not seen on the big screen before, Time Bandits. I do like a good festival.


One sleep to go

Where has the time gone already? Tomorrow the full Edinburgh Fringe Programme for 2017 is released. Ooo, I’m looking forward to hours of trawling through it, really it is fun.

I’ve just been going through the Edinburgh Film Festival programme but not a lot is leaping out at me so far. As I save all my spare pennies for the Fringe I don’t have a lot to spend on the Film Festival, and if you think cinema is pricey generally, Film Festival prices are higher still, though the difference is not as much as it was a few years ago. I do like going to the cinema and have an unlimited card for a nearby multiplex, so any film that will get a general release later is not worth paying to see (with some noteable exceptions like Hunt for the Wilder People and Serenity). Then there are the films that will obviously make it back to the local arthouse cinemas, also usually discarded.

The one film that I do intend to go see so far, is in one of the retrospective selections, Repo Man from 1984 directed by Alex Cox, haven’t seen it in the cinema but had it for years on video recorded from moviedrome on BBC2 with an intro from Cox himself. Man, that is one odd film, but like anything with the great Harry Dean Stanton in it, well worth watching.