Category Archives: Awards

Mostly Books: BookerFest 2013

Ahead of Tuesday’s announcement, MostlyFilm looks over the runners and riders for this year’s Man Booker prize

This year’s Booker list is one of the most readable, if not the most exciting, lists I can remember.  There isn’t a book on the longlist (let alone the shortlist) which isn’t an accessible read. At points this can lead to a lack of ambition; Alison MacLeod’s Unexploded,  of which even for MostlyFilm I’m not reading more than 100 pages, is a ghastly, conceited little book which welds barely-digested research to a hackneyed plot to no real effect.  I’m sure MacLeod has spent a lot of time in the Mass Observation archive, but she never manages to rise above the most trite reflections on the 1940s.   MacLeod aside, though, all the longlisted novels I’ve read are well worth a look;  The Kills is mostly brilliant though drifts a little to close to a  Roberto Bolano knock-off in the mid-section, The Spinning Heart and Five Star Billionaire are both beautifully constructed looks at the contemporary world,  and The Marriage of Chani Kaufman is fantastically entertaining.

After the break, we look in more detail at the six books on the shortlist…

Continue reading Mostly Books: BookerFest 2013

Mostly Shorts 3


It’s that time of year again: the time when you go to see a film and are slightly baffled by the sudden appearance of a short extra thing, out of nowhere, before the main feature. The Virgin Media Shorts competition has been running since 2008 and is surely a good thing (£30,000 for the winner to make their next film), but it suffers rather from the niche marketing and poor penetration of short films in general.

This year the organisers have put more emphasis on interactivity. Not only will you be momentarily baffled when one of these films shows up in your cinema, but now you can follow the competition via hashtags, Facebook and probably SnapChat. All the films will also be screened through Virgin Media, with a People’s Champion being chosen by Virgin viewers. This leads, among other things, to the following piece of PR genius: “By voting through their TiVo® set top boxes, customers will choose their favourite of the 13 shortlisted films. The winner will win Virgin Media’s TiVo® service for a year (if they are an existing Virgin Media customer).” Well, yes.

The thirteen nominees are below the jump. One of them – the excellent Niche in the Market – has already featured in Mostly Shorts. Continue reading Mostly Shorts 3

Edinburgh Film Festival 2013

Gareth Negus, Matthew Turner and Sam Osborn report from the 2013 Edinburgh International Film Festival.


Gareth Negus

The 2013 Edinburgh International Film Festival followed a successful first year for Artistic Director Chris Fujiwara.

Perhaps I ended up seeing the wrong films (with 100+ features and short programmes, it really wasn’t possible to see everything) but I felt the programme was a slight disappointment after last year.  A lot of this was down to the underwhelming opening and closing films.  It’s clearly not easy to select the perfect films for these slots: they need to balance commercial appeal with star quality for the red carpet press photographers, while maintaining a degree of artistic credibility.  So Breathe In, the opener, probably seemed like a good bet: co-star Felicity Jones available for pictures, from the director of the well-reviewed Like Crazy, and an accessible subject matter. Unfortunately, though well photographed and nicely played by Jones and Guy Pearce, the story – middle aged musician and family man finds his mojo revitalised by a younger girl – was a very familiar one, and the film did nothing new or interesting with it.

Continue reading Edinburgh Film Festival 2013

Monoglot Movie Club: The Guldbagge Variations

Part of an occasional series in which Spank The Monkey travels to foreign countries, watches films in unfamiliar languages, and then complains about not understanding them

A Guldbagge Award, yesterday
A Guldbagge Award, yesterday

Sweden! Land of Bergman, Garbo and Abba The Movie. There are some countries where I struggle to find local films in the cinemas, but not here. Stockholm in January 2013 was packed full of ‘em: from the family-friendly fun of Sune i Grekland, to a theatrical outing for a Wallander that’ll probably be on BBC Four by 2014. All I needed was a way to filter out the good stuff from the bad.

By chance, I found that way on my first night in the country, as I turned on the telly to discover live coverage of the Guldbaggen, Sweden’s own film awards. (That golden bug thingy at the top of the page is the actual award itself.) Perfect! All I needed to do was grab the list of winners, pick the most interesting-looking ones, and get myself down to a cinema to see them. Unfortunately, everyone else in Stockholm appeared to be doing the same thing in the week after the Guldbaggen, with screenings of Swedish movies selling out all over the place. As a result, I couldn’t always see my first choice of film.
Continue reading Monoglot Movie Club: The Guldbagge Variations

The MostlyFilm Best of 2012


Hello. We sometimes mention that MostlyFilm is built on a forum, and every so often that forum’s bones poke above the smooth, silky skin of the blog. Since the year 2000, we’ve voted for our favourite films released January-December in the UK, and this year we thought we would share the results with you. Why are we doing this in February? Because we give people a sensible amount of time to catch up on possible contenders and vote with consideration. So up yours, everyone who published their best of results in January.

After the jump are the results, some comments from the forum and, eh why not, the results from previous years. All of this data is compiled and collated by one dedicated forum user, nac1. We applaud his effort.

Continue reading The MostlyFilm Best of 2012

Yesterday’s Men


George Valentin - Georges Méliès
The gorgeous Georges.

I know what you’re thinking.  You’ve clicked on a link, and now there’s a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach.  “Oh no,” you sigh, “not another bloody article about those retro-juggernauts, The Artist (2011) and Hugo (2011) and what it all means for Hollywood.  That’s so last month!”

Well, perhaps.  But as a teacher of film history, I hope that I can offer a slightly different perspective on the films as far as their historical accuracy and their contemporary significance are concerned.

Let’s start with The Artist which, having fictional characters at its heart, brings fewer concerns with it.  George Valentin, Peppy Miller and Kinograph Studios never existed, but the film takes place at one of the most interesting and extensively documented periods in cinema history.  The conversion process from silent to sound cinema made – and, yes, broke – a number of careers, so it encompasses many elements which Hollywood itself loves so much, particularly meteoric rises and dramatic falls from grace.

Continue reading Yesterday’s Men

Mostly Frocks – the red carpet

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 Morgan blogs at Glad All Over and tweets as @elsie_em


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.

Continue reading Mostly Frocks – the red carpet

Mostly Frocks – the Mostly Film Academy Awards 2012 liveblog

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.

Before our live coverage starts, you can check out the MostlyFilm Oscar predictions here, or Laura’s predictions (both the pre-BAFTAS  and post-BAFTAS versions.) Continue reading Mostly Frocks – the Mostly Film Academy Awards 2012 liveblog