Oh, those Spaniards

Aaaand that’s the Film Festival for another year. I did mean to get back to you before this, but what with work, late nights and a lurgy trying it’s best to lay me low since Thursday, well, you know.

Anyway, I was going to tell you about the Spanish films. Oh boy, to have these films in a section called Once Upon A Time In Spain sums them up, fantastic, surreal, dark tales (thankfully with comedy, very black, very odd comedy). I started with the daddy of them all, Acción mutante……

Wow. I had heard of it and picked up that The Last Circus was by the same director (a film I saw when it first showed at EIFF years ago that’s also in this retrospective), which was a good forewarning. Acción mutante was Alex de la Iglesia’s debut film and he went for it, bonkers, surreal, funny, grotesque, I think I need to see it again. In brief, a terrorist group (made up of disabled people) kidnap a wealthy heiress in the middle of her wedding, escape in their spaceship, crash land on a planet full of crazy sex-starved miners, set up a ransom drop in a bar; a lot of people die.

Bizarrely, the anti-hero of the piece, Ramon, really reminded me of Jason Statham (especially his reaction when the girl develops Stockholm Syndrome), which kinda added to the hilarity of it all. That and the fakest dead siamese twin head I’ve ever seen! (well, it’s the only one I’ve seen, but it makes Zaphod’s second head on the HHGTTG telly series look state of the art). Yes, I need to see it again.

Next Abracadabra, and joys, we got a Q&A with the director Pablo Berger afterward the screening. A woman’s boorish, thuggish husband is possessed by a ghost after taking part in a hypnotist act at a wedding reception. Antonio de la Torre (who was previously in The Last Circus) is excellent as the two men in one body with the ghost taking more and more control over it. His wife, with aid of her cousin, slowly figures out what is happening, but how to stop it? does she want to stop it? Since thinking about the wife’s actions, I’ve spotted a great solution that was overlooked, shan’t tell you what it is as it would give away too much. Mind, my solution wouldn’t have made for such a good ending.

My final Spanish adventure was Timecrimes on at a very late hour the evening the lurgy appeared; so did the plot get totally confusing at the end or was it me? No, I don’t reckon even the good Doctor could explain the last twenty minutes of Timecrimes, he’d just say it’s timey-wimey stuff. Simply, a man keeps going back through time, just within the same day, over and over and over again, in an attempt to sort things out – yeah, that was never gonna end well! Oh, and that man with all the plans is played by Karra Elejaide who appeared in Acción mutante; the director went on to make Colossal in 2016 with Anne Hathaway, I loved that film but seem to think that had unexplained wibbly bits too.

But did you actually enjoy the films, Brucie? Yes, I enjoyed Acción mutante and Abracadabra, erm, Timecrimes, I didn’t dislike it but if it was ever on telly I wouldn’t watch it. And the other two had great endings for me, I at least understood them!

But none of these have made my Top Three.

Next time, peeps.

 

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!

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

 

How much fun is Joe Gilgun?

Blimey it’s a tad warm this evening, what happened to the thunderstorm I was promised?? One, it would have cleared the mugginess and two, I love a good bit of thunder and lightning. Even the forecast for tomorrow has now dumbed down to just rain in the afternoon. Rain was always on the cards for tomorrow, it being the Meadows Fair (it’s like a Glastonbury thing – rain and mud are inevitable).

This was to be a post about this year’s Film Festival but I’ve waylaid myself and watched the first three episodes of Preacher. How good is that??!!! I’m sooo tempted to put the next dvd on. Cooper, Gilgun and Negga, all just beyond brilliant! Joe Gilgun especially,  he’s so alive and exciting to watch. Tip, give the film Lockout a go, Gilgun is very entertaining as a psychotic Scottish criminal; it’s no masterpiece but it does also have a laconic Guy Pearce!

I’ve not read the comic books of Preacher, just perused the odd one in friends’ flats many years ago. I just stuck with Sandman at the time but I do remember liking the look of Preacher, hardly surprising as I’d been a big 2000AD fan from its beginning until I gave it up in the early 90s as it became too much into the artwork and not enough actual storylines. I do still have all my old 2000ADs back home, oo, what a fun distraction that would be. Then I could revisit Sandman! For lighter moments I could put Bloom County Babylon in the bathroom for my toilet-reading. No, no, no!! The Fringe programme is oot on Wednesday, that’ll be my reading for the next while.

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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I ❤ Bab Pants

Yes, really, watching Babylon 5 again on the telly, still one of my favourite sci-fi shows. And that story arc! So looking forward to later in season 3 with Zathras and that mindf**k of a story arc of the fate of Babylon 4. I remember going round to a friend’s flat a few days after it first showed on tv, he was still in a dazed blown-away state from the sheer audacity of it. Who knew it would be picked up (pun intended) and shown on tv again?

Sad to say, a number of the top cast are no longer with us. The aforementioned Zathras, played (all of them) by Tim Choate died in 2004, aged only 49. Michael O’Hare, the original Babylon 5 Commander, Jeffrey Sinclair died in 2012. Security has lost Michael Garibaldi and Zack Allan, aka Jerry Doyle and Jeff Conway. Medical has lost Richard Biggs, who played Dr Steven Franklin, aged only 44. As the sane small voice of reason and conscience that was Vir Coto, Stephen Furst won many hearts again (I’d say Vir and Flounder weren’t that dissimilar, loveable, well-meaning, rabbits-in-headlights), sadly died last year. And, of course, Andreas Katsulus who blew me away as the magnificent G’Kar, died in 2006. Do they have Comic Cons in heaven?

Ah, G’Kar and Londo Mollari, the best double act in sci-fi, ever! It was like a Shakespearean epic between the pair, I’m really enjoying seeing those two again. Gotta admit, the Sheridan-Delenn romance really started to grate on me, watching it all on video some years ago I did fast forward at times! Bab Pants also had one of the best villains, Alfred Bester, played to the max by Walter Koenig, always a cheer when Bester turned up!

Ok, so I did watch Star Trek as a calf but it never really got me, never Trekified me. Babylon 5 wasn’t Star Trek, it was grubby, sarcastic, mean, humorous, personal agendas, and it had Ivanova!! Oh boy, she coulda taken on all the Trek women and come out on top! Finally a woman who wasn’t bland and dull, yes she showed her vulnerable side, but hey, don’t we all? And she had an accent, they all did, not the blandness of Trek voices. Oo, am I getting a bit ranty, perhaps?! Umm, at the time I did have some serious Trekky friends who could never quite agree that Bab Pants (or the also brilliant Farscape) could measure up to Star Trek – not even after that mindf**k Babylon 4 stunt!!

I do have a old SFX somewhere that has a Babylon 5 feature in it, there’s a picture of Ivanova that a dear friend of mine had signed by Claudia Christian for me. More on that later!