All posts by Emma Street

About Emma Street

Emma Street is an occasional watcher of films, reader of books and doer of things.

The Host

By Emma Street

Warning: spoilers for The Host follow!

There are four of us in this relationship.

After the success of the Twilight franchise, movie execs must have been up to their eyeballs in pitches for The Next Twilight. “It’s like Twilight but with yetis instead of vampires”, for example. Or with Merpeople. Or Robotic Monkeys. Or Parasitic Aliens!

The Host, on general release at the moment, has a better claim than most as The Next Twilight given that it shares Twilight’s author, Stephenie Meyer and is squarely pitched at the same fan base.

Like Twilight, The Host has an attractive teenage female protagonist, weird goings on and dialogue so clunky that I’m not sure Meyer has actually ever heard people speak. It’s not so bad when her words are said by centuries old vampires or alien species new to our language (and possibly the concept of speaking altogether) but it makes no sense for human characters to sound like they learnt English from 18th century gothic novels translated into Japanese and back again.

The promotional posters have emphasised the film’s central love triangle. In this case, given that there are two people inhabiting the same body it’s more of a love square. Or a virtual love square contained within a physical love triangle. Love geometry becomes complicated when your planet has been taken over by alien parasites.

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A Liar’s Autobiography

by Emma Street

Liars Autobiography

A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman  is based on Graham Chapman’s fictionalised autobiography which was first published in 1981. Chapman recorded an audio version of his book and this voice recording is used as the soundtrack to the film along with new voice recordings from John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam. Eric Idle is the only no-show from the Monty Python team.

Fourteen different animation studios worked on the project, animating separate chunks of the film. “Creatively, the different styles reflect the stages in Graham’s life.” said one of the directors, Jeff Simpson, in an interview “Also, it saves us a lot of time.”

Chapman died at the age of 48 from throat cancer. The other members of Monty Python’s Flying Circus have forged successful careers as directors, Hollywood A-list actors and the like while Chapman never had much chance to establish a career post-Python. What with being dead and all.

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Plus ça change …

Emma Street marvels at the sanity of the characters in bodyswap comedies.

The Magic Fountain of Plot Contrivance: Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman in The Change-Up

Hollywood loves a body swap. Whether it’s an older person swapping bodies with a younger one (Freaky Friday, 18 Again) or a man swapping bodies with a woman (It’s A Boy Girl Thing, The Hot Chick) or a person becoming a different version of themselves (Big, 13 Going On 30). Well, in The Change-Up, a thirty-something man wakes up in the body of a thirty-something man! A different one, obviously. It would just be normal life, otherwise.

Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds are lifelong friends. Bateman is a successful lawyer with an impossibly hot wife, three adorable children, tons of money and a very busy schedule. Reynolds is an unsuccessful actor with a sword fixation and a lot of free time. On a drunken night out together, they tell one another – insincerely – that they wish they had the other one’s life. Unfortunately they do so whilst pissing into a magic fountain of plot contrivance. Next morning sees the inevitable:  hangovers, regrets and waking up in someone else’s body. Continue reading Plus ça change …

Smashing the Glass Slipper

by Emma Street

There is probably no film studio more closely associated with fairy tales than Disney. Since the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in 1937 there has been a string of heroines in search of happily ever afters, although not without some barren spells, like the 30 years from the poor box office performance of Sleeping Beauty in 1959 until The Little Mermaid in 1989, the comeback which started a sequence that runs right up to 2010’s Tangled.

Disney heroines have changed a lot in seventy-odd years. Where once they were docile and obedient they’re now more headstrong and opinionated. If Snow White and the Seven Dwarves had been made in 2011 or The Princess and the Frog in the 1950s, the films would have turned out very differently.

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