Is it just me?

I’ve never seen June go so fast before! Is she speeding up or is Corona slowing time down so June just looks to be sprinting away? It’s Friday evening again, last Sunday I was brimming with ideas and good intentions for this week – I’ve got a lot of cramming to do before Sunday bedtime. Umm, can I blame my lack of impetus (aka bone idleness) on the current situation or am I actually this crap but just never noticed before?

Of course, any other year the full Fringe programme would have come out in the last week or so, I should be poring over it page by page, marking up potentials, big squiggles in the top outer corner of any page of note. Any other year I’d be looking forward to the Film Festival imminently starting, if it hadn’t already. Oo, he says after a quick dive into his files, ten years ago today I saw two films in Filmhouse One, The People vs George Lucas (primarily Bud’s choice as a big Star Wars fan), then just time for a quick pee before going back in for Monsters. 

Yeah, having a big Star Wars fan for a friend, I was well aware that many fans were feeling rather disillusioned by Mr Lucas (that was more than a few nights in the pub I can tell you!) Luckily for me, it was a smart, entertaining documentary (so it was a tad one-sided but these were passionate long time fans), enjoyable and thought-provoking (more pub chat!) even for the ambivalent.

Quick aside, Buffy has just come on the telly – it’s the first appearance of Spike and Drusilla!! Oh yay! And on that note….

Monsters but this time of the sci-fi genre. The film is obviously low budget but just how low was not appreciated until the Q&A afterwards, one of the best Q&As I’ve ever been at. Gareth Edwards, the director, writer, cinematographer, production designer and visual effects guy, came across really well with plenty great stories about the making of it; it was filmed in just three weeks in some pretty scary places, often without permission, using any locals hanging around who were willing to be extras. Edwards then spent months in his bedroom on his computer creating all the visual effects using just Adobe software. It all paid off – in 2011 Gareth Edwards was announced as the director of the new Godzilla film.

I saw ten films at the EIFF in 2010, Boy by Taika Waititi being my favourite followed by Monsters, then in third place Evil – in the Time of Heroes a Greek zombie horror film (yup, really!). One of my ticket stubs bears a film title that I have no recollection of whatsoever, nope, nothing.

And back to 2020, where the EIFF and Curzon Home Cinema have come up with #EdFilmFestAtHome, an online festival of cinema. It will run from 24th June until 5th July, there’ll be a new film each day (which then shows for between two and twelve days). I have had a quick look at this year’s selection but nothing stands out on first glance. Mind you, in a full year I may not find many films I wish to see, so I wasn’t really expecting my types to make the cut in such a slimmed down affair. I’m glad that something has been worked out, there’s even going to be live online Q&A after at least one of the films! Modern technology, eh!

Night all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Someday he’ll make a fine moose

I had been looking forward to the re-pairing of David Tennant and Michael Sheen on telly Wednesday night in Staged but it turned that would have to wait, there was even better stuff on the box, even better than the first fifteen minutes of an episode of Buffy! I know, what could possibly be that good?! American Graffiti that’s what, and maybe this time Curt would get to meet the Blonde in the T-Bird at the end, poor guy; I have to watch it to the end just in case, you understand, yeah?

And who, you may be wondering, will make a fine moose? That would be Curt played by a young Richard Dreyfuss (boy, does he look young but he was actually in his mid-twenties). Curt has been given a scholarship from the local Moose Lodge to enable him to go to college, where he’s flying to in the morning after one last night out with his friends. Ironically, the line is said one moose to another not knowing that whilst Curt is distracting them, hoodlums who he’s fallen in with are robbing the pinball machines in the next room. Well, not so much fallen in with, more coerced to go along with.

Yes, I would be happy to have Richard Dreyfuss as an honorary moose, he’s great. I wasn’t aware of him until I saw Down and Out in Beverley Hills in the mid Eighties, it was sometime after that that I first saw Jaws and American Graffiti on video (the days of Blockbuster!), yes, I hadn’t seen Jaws. I was a tad too young when it came out in the cinema, I had parents who were real sticklers on rules, and really Disney was more my bag at the time.

By the time I saw American Graffiti was as mythical to me as Wolfman Jack was, within the film; I knew the soundtrack well, it’s all great rock’n’roll songs around in 1962 when the film is set. Apparently George Lucas (director and co-writer) had specific songs in mind for every scene – like, way before Tarantino, an influence?. I was not disappointed, Richard Dreyfuss is just one in a great ensemble that included a young Harrison Ford (four years before Star Wars) and one Ronny Howard, who just a year later became Ritchie Cunningham in Happy Days (trust me it was really big back in the day) before turning director in 1980.

In the late Eighties Dreyfuss made Stakeout and Always, two movies I loved at the time that I really should check out again. Umm, I think of the two Always will be the better one (well it does have John Goodman in it), I don’t reckon Stakeout will have aged well, it was a good buddy cop movie though. Oh, and another movie with Dreyfuss from my wild video-watching all-nighters was of course Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Classic!

I leave you with a pic of my precious…..

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He acted with Will Hay, you know!

Oh hello there! I’ve just been watching six scene snippets from the theatrical play Oh Hello on Facebook; back in April Facebook suggested I might like it, being theatrical and all. Oh ‘ello, thinks I, this rings a bell. Hmmm, a one man play about Charles Hawtrey, ah yes, indeed, on watching the first little scene it took me right back to God knows when. When, when? So I spent bloody ages skimming over my old Fringe calendars – nothing! I started them proper in 2004 so it must have been seriously ages ago, I had to delve into my box of tickets (thankfully kept in ticket holder envelope thingies each year) an age of reminiscences later….. Tuesday 6th August 2002 at 20:30 in Venue 13.

Ah Venue 13, I have a soft spot for Venue 13, not really sure why. It’s an obscure little venue in Lochend Close down off the Canongate (that’s the bottom part of the Royal Mile). I couldn’t tell you what it is the other eleven months of the year, maybe a social centre. It is a bit off the usual beaten tracks but Venue 13 has done me well over the years, certainly nothing awful springs to mind but a number of gems do. Each year I wonder if it will be swallowed up into one of the big companies, but it’s stayed independent and long may it remain so! Oh, and it’s also very close to the Kilderkin, a great real ale pub on the Canongate.

Oh Hello was written by Dave Ainsworth, who I think was performing it too (I know that he did perform it elsewhere around that time). Why did Bud and I pick it? See, Charles Hawtrey was part of our youth, our culture, a favourite in the old Carry On films, one of those wonderful comedy actors who make it look so easy. He had an air of bewildered but twinkly charm, which could have been from all the alcohol it turns out.

Watching the clips from this new production it felt like I’d seen it just last year, the writing is so sharp and memorable; and, as when I saw it, the performance really captures the essence of the man. Charles is played by Jamie Rees here, his Charles Hawtrey impersonating Kenneth Williams – brilliant! The last clip flips from ominous humour to pathos, I was left with a lump in my throat just like the first time.

I think it was meant to be at the Fringe this year (another logarithmic reason for Facebook to suggest it to me), so that’s not happening. The plan is for it to be up next year, do hope so, I’m quite a fan!

Toodle pip!

 

Saturday night at Chez Brucie

And it’s another late night for yours truly. I did spend plenty of the evening in the kitchen with Elvis making meat sauce for a lasagne (tea tomorrow). Yes, Elvis, well, a compilation cd I made a few years ago from records I’d put on my computer. Probably not the songs you may be thinking of like Blue Suede Shoes or In The Ghetto; no, my siblings and I loved watching his films on the telly, those were the songs we wanted, from the likes of Blue Hawaii, Kissing Cousins, Viva Las Vegas.

Easter weekend, it seemed right to reminisce, sing along and have a wee dance. It’s easy to forget how amazing Elvis’ voice was, man, he was gooood! But hey, all the words came flooding back, from I Got Lucky at the start right to Tender Feelings at the end, via two big big favourites of mine Someone To Lean On and Beach Boy Blues. Honestly I was doing some cooking too, a good ragu sauce does take time you know, lots of chopping up to do.

By the time the music and sauce were done it was late and I hadn’t actually had any tea (possibly the two white chocolate cookies I’d had earlier might have kibboshed my appetite). Hmm, what to have? A small bowl of sauce with added cream and quickly rustled up very garlicky bread, washed down with a bottle of Peroni.

Nice, J.J.Abrams’ Star Trek was on the telly, nearly halfway through but I know it well enough. It’s a great movie, how scared were we that it wouldn’t work before it came out?! Rather, but Chris Pine and all were brilliant, Pine especially was perfect as Kirk and Karl Urban as McCoy, uncanny at times. The only blot on the copy book was Simon Pegg as Scotty; he was fine enough but it seemed rather hammed up for me.

That’s my glass empty, time for bed.

Ciao, dudes.

Later on, that same evening …..

Hello again! And it’s still Friday the 13th, so more happy returns of the day to George MacKay, the remarkable star of the Not So True History of the Kelly Gang. I found both him and Orlando Schwerdt, who plays the young Ned Kelly, very watchable and believable. The performance of Essie Davies as the family matriarch Ellen is really powerful and a tad scary, shades of Lady Macbeth (interesting as director Justin Kurzel made his own telling of Macbeth in 2015); but Nicholas Hoult as Constable Fitzpatrick quite mesmerised me, such a charm and ease, and cold hardness (hmm, it just struck me that Hoult could make a rather good Flashman).

Sergeant O’Neil bugged me as I couldn’t quite place the actor; then I reckoned it was just that he’s like a cross between Tom Hardy and Heath Ledger; much later I realised I’d seen him just a few weeks ago in The Gentlemen, Charlie Hunnam, doh. It was lovely to see Thomasin McKenzie again (Elsa in Jojo Rabbit) and Russell Crowe (another born in Wellington like Thomasin) gave a rather good performance as the bushranger Henry Power (I have to admit I’m not particularly fond of the man).  Also, a mention for Earl Cave (indeed, son of Nick) as the feral Dan Kelly, he was really good; and, as I checked out as soon as I got home, a deadringer for a young Malcolm Young on the cover picture of Highway to Hell!

The Not So True History of the Kelly Gang is an atmospheric,  on-edge film, it gripped me from beginning to end. Visually it is brilliant, the cinematography is awesome, but then Australia is kinda awesome for a backdrop. One thing, it’s not so much about the Kelly Gang, more the personal (fictionalised, remember) history of Ned Kelly with the Gang thrown in as part of it; it’s Ned against his father, against Sgt O’Neil, Henry Power, Constable Fitzpatrick. For me there were shades of Peaky Blinders not only in style but that, like Thomas Shelby, Ned is driven by family loyalty and responsibility (and lost in it too?).

If one was to watch THotKG on such as Netflix, it would make a great double bill with The Proposition or Lawless. Or you could precede it with Captain Fantastic from 2016, in which George MacKay plays the eldest son to Viggo Mortensen, great performances from both. If you prefer horror, there’s The Secret of Marrowbone, another stellar performance from George, I caught this at the EIFF in 2018; horror as in suspense not gore, and an ending that may cause some sniffles.

I expect a great future for George MacKay, I’ll be watching.

Toodle pip!

 

A Post of Two Films

This week I finally got around to seeing 1917 and True History of the Kelly Gang at the cinema; it’s interesting how long some films will stay showing in multiplexes these days while others still disappear after only a short window space. Mind, burying a film in one early afternoon slot after just one week isn’t, to my mind, a good way to encourage more folk to see it.

1917 is an epic film and worthy of all the awards and accolades it has received. I’ll admit I didn’t see it earlier because I didn’t think it would be my thing, but as a few friends have raved about it having seen it, I thought I’d give it a bash. So glad I did, though glad possibly seems to some an odd word about seeing the horrors of trench warfare. It is an incredible but very sobering film of humanity in extreme circumstances. I found myself noticing the cloth puttees (cloth strips wrapped around from ankle to calf to give support) and remembered the moving Echoes of Villers-Bretonneux at last year’s Fringe.

As well as friends’ acclaim, I decided to go see 1917 because the cast includes some of my favourite actors, and one George MacKay, who has popped up on my radar the last few years.  (OMG, just noticed on IMDb on my phone – it’s his birthday today! Happy Birthday, George!) George is also the reason I  went to see True History of the Kelly Gang, as he plays Ned Kelly (that and my predilection to things antipodean). Personally, I seriously enjoyed THoftKG, the cinematography, cast, performances, the style and feral feel (akin I felt to Peaky Blinders), I say personally as there are many who hate it for many reasons, I mean, really hate it. Why? Well……

In the film Ned Kelly is beardless, this alone has upset a lot of people! Maybe if I was Australian I’d be quite protective of one of the most iconic Aussie images too, but maybe, it was, possibly even subconsciously, a very visual way to show that this is a fiction NOT a factual re-telling? The film is based on a novel of the same name by Aussie writer Peter Carey; the novel won the Booker Prize in 2001. See that word novel? It’s a fiction, a story. Crikey, if you want to complain about films that are historically inaccurate (yes, I know, me included), British historians have waaay more to be upset about!

Another element that greatly offended many was the “cross-dressing” outlaws. Erm, either those offended haven’t actually seen the film or weren’t paying attention when they did. It’s clearly said that they wear the dresses to freak out people and wrong foot them. One critic wondered where they’d get so many dresses, well, dur, they are thieves! The premise of acting crazy to appear more dangerous and unpredictable is very sound (let’s not forget Klinger in Mash). On top of that the “homo-erotic” moments were too much for some!

I can guess at some of those “moments” that offended, nowadays we’re all so tuned in for spotting the “offensive” even when we ourselves take none. The long-held stares between Ned Kelly and Constable Fitzpatrick (Nicholas Hoult) are quite a thing, but hey, two alpha males and all that; then there’s Ned and Joe’s (Sean Keenan) relationship, apparently too close for some, oh, get over it! Two people of any sex can be close emotionally and physically without it being sexual (and if more folk were capable of realising this it would save a lot of misunderstandings and broken hearts down the way), and again, this is a fiction, why would you care either way?!

In recent times Lord of the Rings Frodo’s and Sam’s relationship has been put under the same skewed microscope. These relationships are not to be viewed under 21st century lens, and isn’t it a shame that close platonic same-sex friendships can’t be perceived as just that? By now some may be jumping to the conclusion that I’m being homophobic, that I’m arguing against these guys being allowed to be gay (really, you must be olympian-standard long jumpers). Yes, you who want to be offended, nay, demand to be offended, and often on behalf of someone else who couldn’t give a rat’s arse.

Really, behave! To each his or her own, I say. And here endeth a slightly ranty post. Next up, more on THoftKG and the birthday boy.

Toodle pip!

 

 

Have you seen Jojo Rabbit? I have.

Goodness, I have been remiss in my blogging, nearly two weeks, where does the time go?! Umm, well some went by in the cinema. I did go see the latest Jumanji film, loved it; not quite as much as the last one, but adding grumpy old blokes into the mix was fun and I thought the avatars were great portraying the various players. I do hope they stick at that one though – I suspect another outing would jump the shark.

I’ve also been to see Jojo Rabbit, three times, yeah, I like it, a lot. Taika Waititi has such vision and humanity, I love all his stuff (ok, maybe not Eagle vs Shark, that’s an oddball but everyone’s gotta start somewhere). There’s so much about this film that’s brilliant, I decided I should see it a third time to before sharing with you and how good was that idea? Wow, last night I picked up on the cinematography more, seeing bits I hadn’t noticed before. Well worth multiple viewings, my friends.

WARNING, A FEW SPOILERS AND RANDOM THOUGHTS FLUNG OUT WILLYNILLY.

Johannes Betzler is a good little german boy who wants to be the best Nazi he can be; the film starts with him and his best friend Yorki attending a Hitler youth camp, both ready to serve the Fuhrer. Oh dear, straight away he is spotted by the camp bullies as a target for their malevolence (from the moment I saw the older youth look down at him my heart sank), this film does not shirk away from showing how nasty and weak humans can be; when Jojo is ordered to kill a rabbit the other kids join in the “kill, kill” chant, some from the thrill, others would be protecting themselves, glad it wasn’t them, too scared to do otherwise. Poor Jojo runs off into the woods where he is comforted and advised by his imaginary friend Adolf Hitler (a ten year old boy’s version of what he thinks Hitler is like, remember this) to “be the rabbit”. Much later towards the end of the film Jojo is out collecting wood and sees a rabbit, the shot lingers, the poignancy of the moment is beautiful.

A lot of the film’s humour comes from showing how scary but ridiculous things can be at the same time (one review I read called it an “absurdist dramedy” which sums it up well), Rebel Wilson’s Fraulein Rahm is a great example, we laugh at her but the reality of such a person, umm. Fraulein Rahm is pure Mel Brooks to me, I can’t be the only one who thought this. The “Heil Hilter” scene with the Gestapo officers is another Brooks/Python moment. Stephen Merchant’s Gestapo agent Deertz is absurd and sinister in equal measure, a jumped-up little man who relishes the fear he can instill.

Against these types we have Rosie Betzler, Jojo’s mother, a lioness protecting her cub. Scarlett Johansson is brilliant, as all her award nominations will attest. Rosie is smart, sassy, stylish, fearless and ever hopeful; she is distributing “Free Germany” messages and harbouring a Jewish girl, Elsa. Elsa is living behind the panelling in Jojo’s deceased sister’s bedroom (Elsa and Inge had been friends). Elsa has a calm, stoic quality and she isn’t afraid of a little boy spouting Nazi dogma. She sees through Jojo’s bravado and recognises it as naivity, when he angrily blusters,  “I like swastikas!” she retorts, “You’re not a Nazi, Jojo. You’re a ten year old kid who likes dressing up in a funny uniform and wants to be part of a club.”

Then we have Captain Klenzendorf (Capt K from here on in), a German soldier in charge of the Hilter Youth camp (embittered that he was taken off the front line after he lost an eye), later demoted to office duties after an incident at the Camp involving Jojo and a hand grenade. Capt K knows the war is all but over, he knows Germany won’t win, he admires Rosie, recognises her as a good person. The captain and his second in command turn up at Jojo’s house shortly after the Gestapo have arrived; part of my third visit was to watch this bit more closely. I surmise that either he knew that Rosie was in trouble or he recognised the Gestapo car parked outside. Either way he was trying to protect Jojo and showed us his true colours by aiding Jojo and Elsa in their deception.

Sam Rockwell is always great but Capt K is a great creation, it reminded me very much of Hugo Weaving’s Sergeant Farrar in The Dressmaker. The two are gay men with a flair for flamboyant design but have to hide in plain sight, only revealing more when they know it’s over; Farrer as resplendent in his matador’s outfit, Capt K in his “accessorized” uniform. In The Dressmaker Farrer implicates himself as the hashcake supplier to save Tilly; Capt K pulls the army jacket off Jojo and lashes out calling him a filthy Jew, the captain’s expression as they drag him away says it all.

Jojo Rabbit and his friend Yorki are brilliantly played Roman Griffin Davis and Archie Yates. Roman’s performance will move you to damp eyes at the very least, and Archie gets some of the best lines in the film. It struck me that the pair would be great as Ralph and Piggy if someone were to remake Lord of the Flies just now.

Anyways, I’ve rabbited on quite enough. There’s loads more I can say about his mum, Hitler, Jojo’s desperate lie to hold on to Elsa, the music, the dancing, bathing suits, amongst other things. It’s a beautiful, funny, tender, irreverent, life-affirming, thought-provoking film. If you haven’t already, go see it!!!

It also reminded me of my favourite German word.

Tschüss  💛

 

 

Wuss not woose

So, Logan’s Close were great tonight, Mr Marah is growing a rather dubious moustache for Movember and I’m a woose for not wanting to go out in the rain, so I’ve been informed by a friend. I say friend, a Facebook friend, would a friend call you a woose? Is that even how it’s spelt? Ha, not it’s not, it’s wuss (ok, I goggled it).

I may have stayed in, I may have dozed in front of the fire, but I also, luckily, flicked through the telly channels and spotted The Frighteners was on the Horror Channel. A most excellent film by Peter Jackson starring Michael J. Fox, there’s also Jeffrey Combs as a manic FBI agent and Jake Busey (the spit of his dad) amid a great cast.

I remember seeing The Frighteners at the cinema when it first came out in the mid ’90s. I wanted to see it for Michael J Fox, the comedy element and it’s New Zealand connection (having been there just a few years before), Bud was more about it being a horror film by the chap who made Bad Taste and Braindead (he was a fan). We both loved it and raved about it, but it seemed to slip under the radar for most. If you enjoy a good comedy horror then do check The Frighteners out; it is by the chap whose next thing was The Lord of the Rings!

It’s late, I shall bid you a goodnight and leave you with a glimpse of Mr Marah’s Movember moustache. Oh, and the floating head of the new drummer 😆

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Three becomes four…..

So, on to my top three films from this year’s EIFF. Err, actually not quite, see those two South Korean action movies, Unstoppable and Extreme Job? They’re now my joint 3rd place, on reflection I did enjoy them more than The Mystery of Henri Pick, which is not to say it wasn’t enjoyable.

There’s plenty to like about Le mystère Henri Pick especially the TV literary critic character Jean-Michel Douche, pompous, self-important and arrogant, determined to prove to everyone that he knows better. See everyone else accepts that a manuscript found in the “library of rejected books” was written by one Henri Pick, a deceased pizza restaurant owner in Brittany, but Douche is convinced otherwise; having lost his job over comments made about the author he has time to investigate further and forms an uneasy alliance with Henri Pick’s daughter who has her niggling doubts that her father could have written a book. Together they unravel the mystery of who Henri Pick the author really is. An intriguing, lighthearted whodunnit that keeps one guessing til the end. Also, at the end there was a Q&A, yay! Interesting, and amusing  (to me anyway) that of the foreign directors I’ve seen at this year’s EIFF only the french guy has had an interpreter.

I have finally decided that I can’t decide which is my top film this year, so I’m having joint top films! Top End Wedding and Chippa are both too charming and wonderful to pick one over the other.

Top End Wedding is a great Aussie movie. Miranda Tapsell (I remembered her from The Sapphires) not only stars in it as Lauren, she co-wrote it too, so gorgeous, funny and clever! Her boyfriend Ned is played by Gwilym Lee (recently seen playing Brian May in Bohemian Rhapsody); Ned is an unhappy prosecutor, decides to quit his job and propose to his girlfriend. Lauren, just promoted at her job, says yes, but insists they get married in Darwin back where she’s from, her boss gives her ten days off to get it done. Road trip!

Up in Darwin it turns out Lauren’s mum has up and left her dad, who’s taken to shutting himself in the pantry and playing Chicago’s “If you leave me now” on a little cassette player (I guess you have to be a certain age to feel a glow of bittersweet nostalgia for that track and the gadget, whilst I did laugh I felt his pain too). Lauren won’t marry without her mum so calls off the wedding but only to Ned, Ned doesn’t mention this to anyone else, instead, yay, road trip to find mum! I reckon you can figure the rest, it is a romcom after all.

This film is playful and delightful, but also, as Lauren looks for her mum there are deep feelings and issues brought up that are quite touching, almost needed a tissue at times. The road trips were great for showing off Oz, it quite made me want to go back seeing all those places again, the redness of the Outback, Katherine Gorge, Kakadu National Park; oh yes, I visited them many years ago, I paddled my own canoe up Katherine Gorge, you know! I hadn’t heard of the Tiwi Islands before, but if I make it back to Oz I shall pop up, that’s truly Top End!

And last but definitely not the least is Chippa, an utterly charming film from India, set in the streets of Kolkata; Chippa is given a letter from his long-absent father on the eve of his 10th birthday,  unfortunately it is written in Urdu which he cannot read, so after yet another scolding from his great aunt who he lives with, he decides to set out to find someone who can read the letter to him. And so begins his adventure….

It really sets the tone for the nighttime escapade when Chippa sneaks on to the grass garden roof of a taxi and rides it like it’s a magic carpet carrying him through the night. Through the night he meets all kinds of fascinating characters, a taxi driver, a policeman, an old tea seller, a street football game, a band, a newspaper delivery man, oh and a loveable stray pup he befriends and calls Pippa. With each encounter he gets another perspective on life, but does he find out what the letter says? Not telling, but I will say on encountering the policeman again in the morning, he has decided to go home “because life has only just begun”. Almost another tissue moment there.

Chippa is played by the very talented and already charismatic Sunny Pawar, the kid will go far! He was previous in Lion which I didn’t see at the time but I may well now look up. Chippa is set in the area that Safdar Rahman, the writer and director is from, and it’s very clearly a love letter to his home and roots, even before he admitted it at the Q&A after the screening – and what a lovely, charming guy he is!

All in all, a pretty good EIFF this year. I do enjoy seeing so many varied films in just nine days and feeling the buzz around the Filmhouse. Definitely one of my annual highlights and another reason why Edinburgh is a great place to live!

Toodle pip!

 

 

Extreme fried chicken?!

No Bob, that wasn’t a drunk post, I was merely overtired and feeling ranty (my tablet wanted to change that to Randy, yes with the Capital, either way, I wasn’t). Unstoppable was a great action movie, fast-paced and didn’t take itself seriously.

Also from that neck of the woods was Extreme Job, another action film but with plenty comedy helping it along. The plotline was instantly recognisable and I have absolutely no problem with that – they did something really fun with it. Useless team, about to be disbanded, mocked by their fellows, last-ditch try, come out winners; blundering police narcotics team determined to prove themselves, realise the best way to keep surveillance on Mr Big is to take over the fried-chicken shop directly across from one of his “businesses”, becoming successful selling fried-chicken rather disrupts their plan, then, well, let’s say, karma plays a hand, and it all ends happily ever after, after some great fight scenes.

I love that what makes their takeover so successful is the recipe they use for the sticky chicken, which (if I remember correctly) is the nominated chef’s grandmother’s recipe for spare ribs, the only thing he knows how to cook. The looks as they contemplate putting a pork recipe to chicken! It tickles me that there are people who wouldn’t allow such a thing (there are you know, I’ve met them). Necessity once again the mother of invention! Oo, and I do like the idea, sounds very tasty.

From the tasty, to something you’d push around your plate with a fork while asking what exactly it is for the third time. Volcano looked intriguing from the programme blurb, “splendid black comedy” and “a gleeful sense of the absurd”; it was intriguing but as in I was never too sure what was going on. I dunno, I did sort of enjoy it, pondering, some beautiful cinematography, quite Kafkaesque; chap gets misplaced in the border region of Ukraine, is befriended by a local (with a lovely daughter!), tries hard to get back to civilisation without much success. Ah, yes, there was a Q&A after it, the director is more of a documentary maker apparently and like How to Fake a War they used a lot of locals in acting roles. Volcano‘s ending wasn’t with an eruption but a perplexing “I think I know what just happened, but don’t my word for it”. I think I would watch it again if it ever appeared on telly, just out of curiosity.

For those counting, you’ll know there are just three films left!

Toodle pip!