Friday 29 June 2012

Glastonbury The Movie In Flashback Review

Glastonbury the Movie first released in 1996 is now enjoying a re-release under the more cumbersome title of Glastonbury the Movie in Flashback. Filmed over the three days, Friday to Sunday of the 1995Glastonbury Music Festival the five credited directors take snap shots of the festival and focus on a handful of festival goers. 1995 was the hottest Glastonbury on record and the lack of the traditional Glastonbury mud andWellingtons attests to that sunny summer in Somerset.

Top 20 Films Challenge #12: Demons (1985)

Does Demons really deserve to be so high in the list? Is it any better than Citizen Kane, The Godather and Sunrise? Yes to the former, no to the latter, of course not. But it is the list of my favourite films, not the best films ever made, and taking into account the joy this wonderful piece of 80's Italian gore brought me, it deserves its spot!

In Demons, a random selection of people find themselves invited to a surprise screening in a cinema. The film shown turns out to be a horror featuring demons and an evil mask, the same mask that a member of the audience had scratched herself with in the foyer before the performance started, and that makes her turn into a demon herself. Soon the horror depicted on screen spills into reality, as the demon infection spread, and what is left of the audience, locked in the cinema, fights for survival...

Thursday 28 June 2012

Top 20 Films Challenge #13: Happiness (1998)

Our interblog films challenge, alongside Cinemart, continues. And now at number 13, a film that delivers none of what its title promise: Happiness. I mean, no happiness for the characters, because it is guaranteed to make the viewers happy. A little sick, terribly disturbed also, but very happy. Or maybe outraged. And not particularly happy after all.

In Happiness, a gallery of characters in New Jersey struggles to find happiness, gravitating around three sisters: Joy (Jane Adams), who while still living in her parent's basement is pursuing a musical career going precisely nowhere and embarks in a disastrous relationship with a married cab driver. Helen (Lara Flynn Boyle), a successful writer, lives a life of glamourous parties yet feels strangely unfulfilled. Trish (Cynthia Stevenson), a housewife, lives in a domestic dream, blissfully unaware of the dark secret of her husband Bill (Dylan Baker).

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Top 20 Films Challenge #14: The Hunger (1983)

Going up and up in our interblogs film challenge alongside Cinemart, at number 14, yet another 80's classic (you would better get used to it), The Hunger by Tony Scott, whose first film it was and who never made a decent film after that.

In The Hunger, millennium old Egyptian vampire Miriam (Catherine Deneuve), feeds on blood and love. She can keep her companions immortal but only as long as she is in love with them...

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Top 20 Films Challenge #15: Drowning By Numbers (1988)

Yet another film that I nearly forgot, and how could I? Aptly finding its place in a list given its mathematical theme, Drowning By Numbers at #15. The cinema of Peter Greenaway might be an acquired taste but it is one that I acquired at a very early age.

In Drowning By Numbers, three women of the same family drown their respective boy-friends/husbands in a bathtub, a swimming pool and at sea, enrolling a duplicitous coroner to cover their tracks. As the story unfolds, the screen is filled with visual and mathematical clues.

Monday 25 June 2012

Top 20 Films Challenge #16: Exotica (1994)

This gets to show how fickle these lists are as I nearly forgot about Exotica by Atom Egoyan even though it has definitely been one of my most beloved films ever since I first saw it nearly 20 years ago. So goodbye Hungary as originally planned for this spot and hello Canada at #16. I am actually going to publish a reserve list at the end with all the ones which nearly made it to my top 20 but not quite as I just cannot let them go.

Exotica is the name of a stripper club in Toronto, around which a whole network of of seemingly random characters gravitates. Strippers, the club owner, punters but also the owner of an exotic pet shop... all with a lot more connections than it first appears.

Friday 22 June 2012

Top 20 Films Challenge #17: Le Père Noel Est Une Ordure (1982)

At number 17, a comedy at last, Le Père Noel Est Une Ordure, whose title can be translated as Santa Claus Is A Jerk. Given the French cinema's influence and reach around the world, it is somehow surprising that its most popular and famous comedy within its borders is so little known outside of it. The film takes place over Christmas Eve (France celebrates Christmas on its eve, not the actual day!), as we follow the staff of helpline "SOS Amitie", assisting severely depressed and lonely people, a sort of French good samaritans organisation. As the evening progresses, they face some increasingly desperate callers as well as visits from a gallery of bizarre and over the top characters, with the night turning into complete chaos and madness.

Thursday 21 June 2012

Top 20 Films Challenge #18: The Beyond (1981)

The Beyond is yet one another of those 80's classics which I discovered on the late, thanks to Lovefilm, whose role in spreading cinephilia among Britain is not to be underestimated. This film, by Italian horror master Lucio Fulci, was recommended to me by Sam Inglis from 24FPS, who has become my most trusted source of recommendations for horror films. If you do not follow his website, well you should. In The Beyond, a woman from New-York inherits a hotel in New Orleans. Little does she know that the hotel was built over one of the gates of hell.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Top 20 Films Challenge #19: The Raspberry Reich (2004)

Having this film on my list might sound like a joke. Hell the film itself might seem like one big joke. But I stand by it, and at number 19, The Raspberry Reich by Bruce LaBruce. In it, we follow a revolutionary group in Berlin, very loosely based on the Baader-Meinhof gang, who has set itself the task of freeing the world from capitalism, bourgeois and sexual oppression.

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Top 20 Films Challenge #20: Night Of The Comet (1984)

An 80's cult classic to start off my list of favourite films of all times, which will not come as a surprise since films of the 80's make up half of it! In Night of the Comet, in the wake of a comet's passage, most of humanity is vapourised into a fine orange dust. Those less exposed are turned into killer zombies (are there any other kind?) while some rare lucky few, having been completely sheltered from the exposure, try to survive in the aftermath. In the meantime, some evil scientists are lurking in an underground bunker...

Monday 18 June 2012

My Favourite Films Of All Times! The Top 20 Challenge

Venerable British film magazine Sight & Sound is busy compiling the top ten lists of a whole variety of film experts/journalists etc... with a view of publishing the mother of all lists on their September issue, as they do every decade. Strangely enough I have not received their request for mine quite yet, the e-mail must have got lost in the post. So I have decided to publish it anyway, and I do not even have to wait for September!

Friday 15 June 2012

Late September Review

            Filmed over the course of 24 hours in a Kent house and garden, Late September focuses on a group of long term friends, most in their mid 60s celebrating the 65th birthday of Ken (Richard Vanstone) who has been married to Gillian (Anna Mottram) for nearly 40 years. With a small collection of friends staying in the house, it becomes clear that Ken and Gillian’s marriage is no longer a happy one and long term friendship strengths and weaknesses within the group are explored.

Thursday 14 June 2012

Rock of Ages Review

The recent Hairpsray remake was one of the best musical I have seen in years, with its fantastic cast, brilliant musical numbers and songs, and a fantastic last act that brought near shamanic level of infectious enthusiasm. So when news emerged that director Adam Shankman was embarking on a new project, the adaptation of an 80's tastic musical Rock of Ages (which I have never seen on stage), and then a fantastic trailer was released, my anticipation reached stratospheric levels. Yet Rock of Ages turned out to be intensely frustrating and catastrophically uneven. Where did it all go wrong?

Tuesday 12 June 2012

The Fairy Review

The Fairy is the third collaboration between director and acting trio Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon and Bruno Romy following on from Iceberg (2005) and Rumba (2008) which also featured this films main characters Dom and the fairy Fiona. This is the story of how the couple first met while Dom (Abel) was working as a night watchman in a small Le Harve hotel and Fiona (Gordon) arrives one night barefoot and wearing a white t-shirt and soft pink tracksuit pants offering him three wishes. Two thirds of the wishes are asked for and granted with the third wish not having time to be considered as the couple’s love is thwarted by circumstances worthy of many a comedic silent film classic.

Monday 11 June 2012

My Review Of Maniac... Is In Another Site

First of all, apologies for the lack of post last week! It is an understatement to say that we came back from Cannes extatic but exhausted and not just a bit burned out! It is all very well to experience the madness of the festival when it is your full time job to review films but when it is supposed to be your holiday... But stay tuned, this week we will have the review of French comedy The Fairy, A Thousand Kisses Deep, and a list of my ten favourite films of all times. Well actually it is more going to be fourteen as I just cannot do ten. In the meantime, if you have followed my Cannes diaries, you will know that one of the highlights of the festival was being at the Maniac premiere. I had promised to write a review of it for my friends at Cinemart so I will not republish it here, just a link to it.

Monday 4 June 2012

Cannes Film Festival: A Handbook - Part 2

I hope part 1 about the logistics of attending the Cannes film festival did not put you off because it is still totally worth going. And now for the films! Not that it is that easy to see them either. But, trust me on this, it is worth all the expenses, sleep deprivation... The Cannes Film Festival is very different from others in the sense that it is not open to the public, and with a few exceptions, it is just not possible to buy tickets to watch films, you need to obtain some invitations for each screening. But it is so incredibly exciting, and truly magical!

Cannes Film Festival: A Handbook - Part 1

Do you get that nagging feeling every year when following the coverage of the Cannes Film Festival, made even worse since the advent of Twitter, that, as a film fan, you should be part of it? I certainly did, a feeling made even worse as I did attend the festival from 1992 to 1998 when I lived nearby, as a teenager then a student, and dreamed of going back every since. After all this time however, I finally made the plunge and went back this year. It was an amazing, at times infuriating, but incredibly rewarding and exciting experience, one that every film fan should experience it at least once in their life.

It is also VERY different from any other film festivals in the world, so I just thought I would share some tips and advice if you are considering it for next year, so that you know what you are getting yourself into! This handbook is meant for first timers and casual bloggers/film fans in particular. Part one below is about the logistics of attending the festival, and part two will be about what really matters, the films!