Category Archives: Uncategorized
by Indy Datta
Or, as festival director Louis Savy, or one of his good-natured and indefatigable team will inform you before almost every screening, Scifi London for short. I’ve been going to the festival since its inception in 2002; reviews after the jump of the films I managed to see this year.
So, it’s been a while. How’s it going? All good? Excellent. Yeah, no change here. Except I had a baby, quit my job and moved my family to sub-Saharan Africa. No, for real. It’s all here if you’re really interested, and by “all” I mean “almost nothing.” I’m Harry, by the way, the pseudonym thing seems a bit unnecessary now that I’m beyond the reach of your petty laws.
Malawi, where I now live, is the third (or eleventh, depending on who you ask, never in between though) poorest nation on earth. I’m not sure where’s poorer, but there must be a whole country living in a cardboard box somewhere, because this place is pretty damned poor. The life expectancy is shockingly low. The country has the one of highest HIV/AIDS infection rates in the world. There are near constant power cuts and water shortages. You live in constant danger of malaria, bilharzia, meeting Madonna or plague. The real problem with Malawi, though, is that there is no way to watch the Junior Apprentice, nor whatever witless crap Jamie Oliver is currently foisting, with wet-lipped enthusiasm, on the peoples of the rest of the world. In short, this place is a cultural desert. My having no access to bad television, and therefore nothing to say on these pages, was an unintended consequence of our move to the Dark Continent, but it seemed to be an unavoidable one. At least, I thought so, until I stumbled across Demon-in-Law.
by Victor Field
There are very few screen productions to have had entire books written about their music; Peter Jackson’s The Lord Of The Rings,Tim Burton’s Batman, Star Trek (but not Star Wars or Doctor Who, ha ha). The Music Of James Bond sees the world’s most famous spy added to that short list.
The appropriately initialled Jon Burlingame (no stranger to writing about spy music following his liner notes for FSM’s excellent The Man From U.N.C.L.E. albums) covers Commander Bond’s musical history from the late ‘50s US TV version of Casino Royale* to almost the present day – press deadlines mean Thomas Newman and Adull (er, Adele) don’t get a look-in with Skyfall – with a minimum of musicological textwork and a maximum of revealing information. Just as Burlingame’s TV’s Greatest Hits is an essential for anyone interested in small screen music, this is a must for those who have every Bond soundtrack from LP to download.
2012 in film has been the sort of year, for me, where the best films have not been the most memorable. Three films stand out in terms of memorability; TED – a one joke movie about a teddy bear that can talk and also smoke, take drugs, drink and is consistently horny, made by the makers of Family Guy and memorable mostly for two great cameos. Killer Joe – a film with so many flaws that you can list them as you watch it, but the central performances are so great that you don’t care. If Matthew McConaughey doesn’t get an Oscar nod for this then quite frankly he’s been robbed. To my mind Killer Joe is the most chilling on screen character since Mitchum’s Harry Powell and that is a comparison I do not make lightly. Finally, and the subject of my ‘best of 2012’ is The Raid.
by Fiona Pleasance
Carl Theodor Dreyer’s film La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc), was made in 1928, and is set almost exactly five centuries earlier. At the film’s core is a display of raw human emotion quite unlike any seen in the cinema before or since, its visceral nature expressed in tears, in spit and in blood, taking in faith and torture, and ending in confusion, in fire and in death. Continue reading this article ›
Continue reading this article ›
by Paul Duane
Why “American”? Well, there’s nothing more American than owning property. It’s the American Dream, a house and some land surrounded by a fence. Built, as in all the best haunted house stories, on an Indian burial ground. And American Horror Story, series one, is all about decades of murder on a slice of prime West Coast real estate.
I think it’s one of the most original and intriguing TV series in recent years, and one that’s come out of nowhere with a whole new way of representing the horror genre on television.
Here’s the thing: TV doesn’t like anthologies any more. The days of The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits and Alfred Hitchcock Presents… are all over. So what do you do if you love those short, creepy stories about creeps who come to bad ends, and you work in television, and you’re coming off one of the biggest surprise hits of recent years*? You make an anthology show but disguise it as a soapy serial.
Anthologies, however, have to have some sort of a theme. Rod Serling made his shows all about paranoia and characters who discover the world isn’t as it seems. Hitchcock’s series was largely defined by its pitch black sarcasm.
The very American theme of American Horror Story, S1, is the horror of childbirth.
Indy Datta reviews the new film from Guy Maddin, Keyhole.
The avant-garde Canadian film maker Guy Maddin has worked a consistent seam – in his narrative film work and as an art film maker – since before his first feature, 1986’s Tales From the Gimli Hospital. Fans will know what to expect from Keyhole, his latest narrative feature, and their expectations will be met, as Maddin serves up an instantly identifiable brew of early film pastiche, wild cut-up surrealism and endearingly lowbrow comedy. And beyond the surfaces of his films, the personal nature of Maddin’s sensibility is also an identifiable thread running through his work, and one that is arguably getting stronger with time. Maddin’s last feature, the sly, wry cinematic memoir of his youth and hometown that was My Winnipeg, was probably his most accessible work to date, and Keyhole is in many ways another return to the film maker’s roots – a riff on Homer’s Odyssey (crossed with classic Hollywood gangster films) set entirely in a Winnipeg home very like the one Maddin grew up in.
by Susan Patterson
I walked into Detachment cold. I knew nothing of Tony Kaye’s work (American History X was released at a time when I didn’t watch films and its subject matter never made me inclined to follow it up) but did know that Detachment starred Adrien Brody and was (probably) a drama. Had I bothered to do my homework I would have never stepped into the auditorium.
By Philip Concannon
Martin Scorsese has famously described cinema as simply being “a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out,” but when The Last Temptation of Christ was released in 1988, very few were willing to consider the film on those terms. This adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’ novel remains one of the most controversial films ever released by a Hollywood studio. It sparked protests, threats and even physical attacks, with a cinema in France being firebombed by a group of Christian fundamentalists for daring to screen the film. The charge was blasphemy, with the biggest bone of contention being a much talked-about sex scene between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. The fact that few of those criticising The Last Temptation of Christ had seen it, or had any intention of doing so, was apparently beside the point.
Continue reading this article ›
Continue reading this article ›
by Ron Swanson
I don’t cry very much. Or rather, I don’t cry very much in the first person. Something bad happens to me, I bite my bottom lip, stiffen my resolve and wallow in a tearless self-pity. However, I realised that I might be hiding from my own true nature when an advert for Google made me cry. For the fifth time. In a week.