Monthly Archives: February 2012
by Laurent de Alberti
When Septuagenarian Alvin Straight finds out that his estranged brother has suffered a stroke, he decides to embark on a journey to reunite with him, in spite of his own poor health. Unable to drive, he resorts to riding a lawn mower through the Midwest to cover the 300 miles that separate them.
It is a popular opinion among Lynch detractors that his films are all style and no substance, and under the cover of mystery, glamorous amnesiacs and strobe lights lay some pretty empty propositions. This is obviously unfair and actually completely inaccurate. The American director might not be dealing with emotions in the most obvious way but far from being shallow, all of his films remain explorations of human nature, even if, more often than not, it is usually its darker side.
by Sarah Slade
Before the Beatles and Dick Lester, pop movies of the 1950s and 60s featured one of a stable of jobbing popstars, a “let’s do the show right here, fellas!” plot that would involve the clean-cut young folks keeping their youth club/coffee bar out of the hands of a besuited property developer using the Power of Pop (or Trad Jazz, in the case of Helen Shapiro in It’s Trad, Dad!). The jobbing popstar would be required to sing one uptempo number, a ballad, and a jaunty final number about what fun it is to be young and listen to crazy beat music
The template was changed slightly with the release of “A Hard Day’s Night”: an mock documentary that featured the Beatles playing slightly exaggerated versions of themselves (Sardonic John, Cute Paul, Quiet George and Hapless Ringo) doing the publicity rounds when all they want to do is play and sing a whole album’s worth of catchy tunes. But still the basic premise was crazy kids at play, and hey, what are they doing on that staircase?
But then Altamont happened, and the Sixties stopped happening.
We’re back again with the Mostly Film liveblog and the 84th Oscars ceremony is just about to begin. You can read our coverage of the red carpet here.
Concetta: Boom! First Kodak joke of the evening. Fact: 7 of the 9 best pic nominees were made on Kodak film.
Concetta: He’s singing!
Good evening! Welcome to the MostlyFilm liveblog of the 84th Academy Awards: the red carpet.
Mostly Film’s Oscar Livebloggers:
Tindara Sidoti-McNary is an art and film geek and fatshionista. Special interests include artist filmmakers and lipstick. She tweets as @Tindara
Concetta Sidoti is a journalist who tweets as @concettasidoti
Laura: Good evening. I’ve installed myself on the sofa with the laptop, the iPad, a bottle of cola flavoured branded soft drink and a mountain of snacks. I’m playing red carpet bingo and I’m looking out for one of each of the following:
A dress that makes the wearer look naked from a distance
A flashed nipple (male or female)
A gravitationally improbable hairstyle
A nominee being effortlessly outshone on the red carpet by their other half (Brad Pitt is the obvious candidate here, but I’m always open to surprises)
A dress that in any other context would be a wedding dress
Please shout in the comments if you spot one or more of these before I do.
Tindara: Evening all. The washing’s on, I too have snacks and caramel flavoured beverages.
Red carpet news so far is that Berenice Bejo and Milla Jovovich will both be wearing Elie Saab, I’ve seen Jovovich, a fishtail one (exaggerated) shoulder number, with a subtle white/metallic sequin sparkle.
Penelope Ann Miller is in halter neck pastel pink with subtle sparkle too. So far bang on trend, with metallic shimmer and pastels.
Tonight Mostly Film goes live-action, and our all-women team will be commenting on the red carpet action and the Oscars ceremony.
The red carpet coverage will start from 11.30pm GMT and the Oscars ceremony from 1.30am GMT.
The MostlyFilm Oscars livebloggers are Laura Morgan, Concetta Sidoti and Tindara Sidoti-McNary. Editing, updating, and making virtual cups of tea (or, since the ceremony starts at one-thirty London time, maybe something stronger) is Josephine Grahl.
With the Oscars appearing on maybe half a dozen Sky HD TVs this weekend, two of our writers look at the prospects for this weekend’s 84th Academy Awards. Warning: contains a spoiler for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy:
The weeks between the Oscar nominations and the awards have always been the highlight of my cinema year. Each year (with a small-child-inflicted gap) I do my best to see as many of the main nominees as possible before the big day. In the past this would involve a final dogged trip to London on the last weekend to sweep up the last 2 (or one year, 3) films which hadn’t come to the sticks but which were always available at the Odeon Panton Street.
Some years this was great, others, well, watching House of Sand and Fog, Mystic River and 21 Grams in a single day doesn’t make for a cheery coach ride back to Oxford. The actual night is usually a complete letdown, hours of frocks, excruciating musical numbers, plodding delivery of bland jokes* and the wrong winner in most categories. And last year’s inexplicable juggernaut shut-out by The King’s Speech made the actual telecast pretty tedious. But I’ve never before had a year where I just can’t be bothered to see so very many of the nominated films. Looking through the lists again is a weary, weary prospect, but here’s my view on the big four:
The Korean War is an historical obscenity so absurd that it feels like it was created for propaganda purposes. We are, in the west, well used to the hideous idea of people dying in the First World War right up to 11 o-clock on the eleventh of November, and the utter pointlessness of those deaths. In the Korean war (or as the Koreans call it, the war)* the same thing occurred, only the truce talks went on for two years after the fundamental desire for ceasefire was agreed, with the added piquancy that the fighting that occurred in the last few months and weeks was actually the most vicious, the most deadly of the entire conflict. Areas devoid of mineral richness or any natural strategic importance, hills too steep for farming and too bleak for settlement, became the focus of horrific and sustained fighting. Some small and pointless territories changed hands over 30 times in 18 months at the cost of countless Korean lives, as well as a significant number of Chinese, American and other troops. The perceived importance of these areas was due to their proximity to the 38th parallel, an entirely arbitrary line drawn at the end of WWII partitioning the country into North and South Korea, and sparking the inevitable war. In 1953, as the interminable armistice talks dragged on, these hills became a flash point merely because the owners of a hill could move the arbitrary border to the other side, gaining about three kilometers of extra territory. Thousands of people were killed and maimed fighting over them. The damn things are in the demilitarised zone now, and no one owns them.
by Jim Eaton-Terry
Wild at Heart seems to be the one universally accepted dud in David Lynch’s back catalogue. There are the early oddities (Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Dune), his masterpiece Blue Velvet, then the nightmarish trilogy of Fire Walk With Me, Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive. Wild At Heart is dismissed as Lynch lite, his one attempt at a mainstream lovers-on-the-run movie fatally flawed by compromises to commercial acceptability in the wake of Twin Peaks.
by Mr Moth
I last wrote Mostly Pop back in September 2011. It’s 2012 now – how things have changed! We have jetpacks and robot servants, I’m writing this while tucking into a bowl of food in pill form (mmm… roast chicken and yorkshire pudding pills!), the NHS is finally going to be destroyed (at last, eh?) and the pop scene has moved on to an unrecog… oh, wait, it’s One Direction again.
One Direction – One Thing
So, the band with the biggest hair in the world, what do you have for us? A video packed with studied wackiness. Marvel s we follow the boys around in their open-top bus for some impromptu, heavily-rehearsed, zany goofing around. Look at them jump! Bounce bounce bounce! They’re such fun! They do that walk like the Monkees do! Wow, they must be as fun as the Monkees*! Look at how they’re dressed! Well, ok, I guess it’s an improvement on their former look. I can imagine the meeting with the stylist now: ‘You! You’re dressing like Doctor Who! You! You’re dressing like one of those blokes from that Richmond sausages advert! You! You’re also Doctor Who, but the other one! You! You’re… you… I… er, DOCTOR WHO!’.
by Yasmeen Khan
Before 2009’s Hadewijch, Bruno Dumont made three exceptional feature films – La Vie de Jésus (1997), L’Humanité (1999) and Flandres (2006) -and one terrible turkey – Twentynine Palms (2003), not to be confused with 29 Palms (2002), which is also the only one to be set outside France. So it’s encouraging to see him return there for Hadewijch. His style suits contemporary French cinéma du corps much better than it does the Californian thriller. Dumont’s films are bleak and powerful explorations of personalities in crisis, set against the barest outlines of plot, naturalistic, drawn on drab streets or brutally beautiful landscapes, concerned with extremes of emotion, with setting and atmosphere rather than narrative.