miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Lee)
Who's your favourite Hammer Glamour lady?

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 7


Martine Beswick, Caroline Munro, Barbara Steele, Hazel Court, Ingrid Pitt or Valerie Leon?

View Answers

Valerie Leon
0 (0.0%)

Caroline Munro
3 (42.9%)

Ingrid Pitt
0 (0.0%)

Barbara Steele
3 (42.9%)

Martine Beswick
0 (0.0%)

Hazel Court
1 (14.3%)

miss_s_b: (geekiness)
I remember when I was a kid of probably about ten but maybe more or less watching the Lon Chaney senior version of phantom of the opera on channel 4 as part of a run of phantom of the opera films which also included the Claude rains one and (I think) the Herbert Lom one and a couple of others. I'm reasonably sure they showed five versions of the story, but I don't know if one of them was a TV movie, and i think at least one version was foreign language.

I'd like to know what films were shown in that season. I'm reasonably sure there's a website which tells one when particular films were shown on British tv, but I can't find it and my Google fu is failing me and I've had a really shit day and my brain won't work.

Any ideas?
miss_s_b: (Feminist heroes: Liz Shaw)
Many of you will know I've not had the best week. Aside from all the horrors going on in the lib dems, I've also had a bereavement and various other stresses. Yesterday, then, I needed something to act as a release valve. Cinema has always been a coping mechanism for me and I decided a good weepie would really help.

So I went to see the new British comedy/drama Song for Marion. It's not the most original script ever. You're never in any doubt about what is going to happen at any point, and the plot is somewhat thin. It's one of those films that rests upon the performances of the actors to make it worth watching.

Luckily, Song for Marion manages to pull it off, largely due to a devastating performance from Vanessa Redgrave and a stunning General Zod Terence Stamp.

Redgrave's Marion is dying of cancer. Her husband, Arthur (Stamp), has retreated into curmudgeonly grumpiness because he doesn't know how to deal with it, putting further strain on his already strained relationship with his son (Christopher Eccleston, with a somewhat hit-and-miss non-Northern accent). The thing that gives Marion joy is her weekly choir class, taught by Gemma Arterton and populated with such Brit acting luminaries as Anne Reid and Ram John "Porkpie" Holder. The choir is quirky and unconventional, naturally, and Arthur finds the songs they perform (Ace of Spades, Lets Talk About Sex), and the joy they find in subverting convention, very embarrassing.

I suspect from all of that you can all see how the plot is going to develop and what the ending will be. If you can't predict from that, watch the trailer, which is something of a Walkabout Trailer*. Like I said, not the most original script ever. That said, Redgrave and Stamp, and the way they play the relationship between them, are so good that it doesn't really matter. There are a number of scenes in the film where the camera simply lingers on Stamp's face as he reacts to something. In the hands (or rather facial muscles) of a lesser actor, this could have been disastrous. In this, it's astounding.

I cried. I cried lots. Especially when Redgrave does her solo song directly to Stamp. But I also laughed lots, and the supporting actors deserve some credit for this. Anne Reid rapping, and doing the dance moves for the various songs, is clearly having a great time. And the little girl who plays Stamp's granddaughter has that piercing honesty and comic timing that I'm sure many of us will recognise from our own children.

The direction is good, there's some nice shot-framing, and the set design is effective in evoking the type of lifestyle Marion and Arthur have. The song choices are interesting, and Stamp and Redgrave both perform reasonably well musically, although clearly neither is a natural singer.

See this film if:
  • You need a damn good cry
  • You want to see some great performances of ordinary human relationships
  • You want to see Anne Reid rap
Don't see this film if:
  • You like to be surprised by plot twists
  • You want car chases, or any kind of action

Scores: Acting: 10/10, Script: 5/10; Overall 7/10
Alternative Britcom dramas with older actors: Quartet (good, but not great) or Cockneys Vs Zombies (laugh-out-loud funny, but possibly slightly gory in places). I'd recommend the latter every time. Honor Blackman with a HUGE machine gun, people. Go watch it.



* A Walkabout Trailer is a trailer which shows most of the interesting bits of a film and thus makes it much less necessary to see the actual film. Named after the trailer for the Nick Roeg film Walkabout, which literally does spoil EVERY important point of the film. Yes, even THAT one.
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Lee)
Have been having a discussion on twitter with Charlotte Gore (whoisnotatory) and sundry others about the gendering of films. Charlotte points out that films which are generally considered "women's films" tend to suffer a 1 point penalty on imdb, whereas films that are considered "men's films" get a 1 point bonus over a theoretically gender-neutral norm. I pointed out that such descriptions are pretty meaningless anyway, at which point johnb78 chipped in with a description of Thelma and Louise as an awesome violent action movie with lots of semi-naked chicks in it.

And that got me thinking.

How would you market a stereotypically girly film to blokes? Or a stereotypically blokey film to girls?

Bonus points for the most pointless use of stereotype!

Examples:
- The Sound of Music is an escape from the nazis thriller.
- The Dirty Dozen is a film about relationships.
- The Wicker Man is a picturesque musical about folk traditions.

Your turn!
miss_s_b: (Pratchett: Nanny Ogg)
I had my first view of An Unexpected Journey tonight. I'm going to see it again tomorrow with Holly (who is mega excited for it) and my mum; will hopefully do a proper review tomorrow, but suffice to say it's bloody fabulous, EXTREMELY faithful to the book(s)*, and Gollum is the cutest most loveliest thing ever.

The thing I want to blog about tonight, though, is VINDICATION. There was argument about whether or not LotR dwarves are like Discworld dwarves (i.e. indeterminate gender identity). I am firmly on the side of HELL YES THEY ARE, and furthermore Gimli is clearly a bisexual lady who has an elf fetish. There are others who are... less convinced of this than I am. HOWEVER, in The Hobbit, when Gandalf is describing Radagast to the company he uses THE EXACT WORDS used to describe Ridcully the Brown when he is first introduced in the Discworld books. Obviously the desciption give of Ridcully is meant to conjure up images of Radagast, so it's a nice nod. But it also means that the writers have explicitly considered Discworld, THEREFORE it is quite legitimate to play guess the gender identity with the company dwarves.

Amirite? I ARE RITE!

Of those in the film, I don't want to make definitive pronouncements about any but two. Oin is definitely a boy; that type of campness is something I have never seen in anyone who wasn't cis male. And Thorin is definiely a girl. That lustrous hair, that silky beard, that way with using improvised weapons; she's the only one who organises things, she's the most sensible, and she's by far the huggiest of the dwarves**.

I lean towards saying that Bombur, Biffur, Balin and Fili and Kili are ladies too***, but I wouldn't say for definite. Dwalin I would say is probably a bloke. The others are, in my head at least, genderqueer.

Anyhew, I am a happy bunny, I enjoyed the film very much, and I thought Thorin was an excellent heroine :)



* as in, the bits that are in there which aren't in The Hobbit are almost all from Tolkein's expansions.
** You might say that I am being somewhat stereotypical about gender roles here; possibly I am. But it beats saying that the only girls in the film were Galadriel (who admittedly has a far bigger part to play than she was given by JRR), a few hobbit extras, and an unnamed elf playing the flute...
*** Which makes the regular fatshaming of Bombur extra depressing...
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Cthulhu the Six!Fan)
Things I have seen of late and wish to blog about:

Jack Dee, live at the Victoria theatre in Halifax. Was hilarious, although on a couple of occasions he skirted a bit too close to the "I'm not racist but" line. He was wearing amazing purple loafers, though. And he made fantastic attempts at inserting local colour into his set along the lines of Mark Steel's In Town. If I had paid for the tickets I would have considered them good value for money. 8/10

Gambit was silly, but a lot of fun, with the usual caveats about Hollywood movies' stupid approaches to gender politics. It has lots of naked Alan Rickman in it, which, IMHO, is recommendation enough. 7/10

Sightseers is the most original film I have seen in a long long time. If you imagine a feminist take on Natural Born Killers written with the dry and wistful humour of Alan Bennett you're somewhere close to beginning to grasp the feel of this heartwarming romcom about serial killers. I don't want to go too deeply into any of it, because I want you all to go see it. There's a bit of gore, and there's some strong language and really, really inappropriate concepts... but the way they are handled I guarantee you will laugh at all of them. Line of the film was he's not a person, he's a Daily Mail reader, but literally every scene has at least one laugh out loud moment. It was an utter joy hearing peals of laughter in the cinema, and it was lovely hearing the other patrons enthusing about the film as they left. It's not a film that needs to be seen on a big screen by way of effects or big visual stuff, but it's a film that makes for a great shared experience. Go and see it. Please.
Also if, like me, you fall in love with the leading lady you might wish to see her other works, which include Horrible Histories and Garth Marenghi's DarkPlace. 10/10

Strictly Come Dancing has been a lot of fun this year, principally because of the adorable, modest, brilliant and talented Lisa Riley, who has absolutely bloomed and become an amazing dancer. She also SO clearly is having the time of her life and getting on like a house on fire with Robbie. I'm not going to give Strictly a mark though because it's the kind of thing you know whether you like it or not.

Elementary I love love love. I love Johnny Lee Miller's characterisation of Holmes (and have just about expunged his Frankenstein's Monster from my brain), and I love Lucy Liu's sharp yet caring Watson, who has EXACTLY the right balance of intelligence and compassion to be Watson as Watson should be - not the dullard Watson is so often portrayed as, and I REALLY love the way they interact with each other. This is not a brilliant Holmes leading a stupid Watson to enlightenment, it is two people learning different things from each other, exactly as it should be.
Part of the reason it's so good is because the Moffatt series has dibs on the original stories for TV adaptation the makers of Elementary have been forced to be creative, and they have come up with something genuinely great. Better than Sherlock? Hell yes. Sorry Gatiss. 9/10

American Horror Story: Asylum I am having very mixed feelings about. It took me a LONG time to get into series 1 - and I thought about giving up on it more than once - but once I did I really loved it. Jessica Lange is still awesome, and every episode passes Bechdel without a problem, partly due to the huge cast, but partly because there is actual proper gender balance... but there are some bits of it which seem to be going for titilation over plot (oh, I know, in a horror series, what a shock). I'm also not sure about having it setting just two time periods, and the vast majority of it in 1964, rather than jumping about through history, and slowly tying things together. However, I am willing to keep giving it a chance longer than I normally would because the first series did just go on getting better and better. 6/10

Grimm series 2 is still gender unbalanced and still has needlessly silly terminology, but other that is a lot of fun. I am DEEPLY in love with Monroe. The conceit is interesting, and it falls neatly into the slot for fantasy in my head. And a lot of the recurring characters are great too. I particularly love Nick's mum and Monroe's mad-as-a-bag-of-frogs biker ex-girlfriend Angelina. 8/10

Continuum on the other hand, I am starting to wonder if it was made to fit exactly into a slot in my head. It's like someone thought Hey! Jennie loves sci-fi and she loves detective shows and she loves kickass female lead characters: I wonder what'd happen if we put all those things together? The result is a show that's by no means perfect, but still really, really good. I particularly like that the police department's geek is a girl, and am enjoying very much the mystery-of-the-week format. It's still overly male, but it's a step in the right direction, and passes Bechdel most weeks. 8/10

The Almighty Johnsons series 2 is being rather enjoyable too. Ingrid, Ty and Olaf are still my favourites. It's fun to see my predictions coming true, but also being twisted in unexpected ways. The episode A Damn Fine Woman is one of the finest episodes of television I have seen in a long time, and the rest of the series has been a lot of fun too. 8/10
miss_s_b: Abby Scuto says Awesome (Feminist Heroes: Abby Scuto Awesome)
This heartwarming (yes really) zombie comedy has some real laugh-out-loud moments, some heavy gore, and a real soft cockney heart. Love a duck.

The basic plot of the movie is that an Evil Multinational Corporation has bought a load of land in the East End, including the land on which stands the Bow Bells old folks home. One of the residents is a gentleman with grandchildren in their twenties, whom he brought up when their parents died. The boys are dimwitted but goodhearted, and want to pay their grandad back by saving the old folks home for him and his friends. Having attempted to save up and got nowhere, with two weeks to go before the home closes they decide to do a bank job. Just as the zombie apocalypse hits.

The rest of the film is a caper involving routemaster buses, Zoe Slater from Eastenders saving the day lots, Richard Briers on a zimmer frame trying to escape from a zombie who is shambling at exactly the same speed as him, and this lady:



87-year-old machine-gun-toting ex-Pussy-Galore-and-Cathy-Gale Honor Blackman totally steals this movie. You know when you watch American action movies, and you're sighing because all the supposed badass action heroes blink every time their gun fires? Not Honor (or Richard Briers, for that matter, who ends up with an uzi strapped to his zimmer frame). From delicately hammering a zombie's head in at the kitchen door, to mowing them down with a machine gun provided to her by the cackhanded bank robbing grandchildren of her old-folks-home-sweetheart, she has style, panache and a steely-eyed reserve throughout this film.

The cheeky chappie Cockney cliches are done, but not overdone, and there's a real sense of weary resignation as the zombies take over from the corporation and the government and everything else as something which is getting in the way of the cockneys just getting on with their lives of geezering and low level crime. There are some great roles for British acting elder statesfolk, too. Witness Tinker from Lovejoy totally failing to grasp Cockney Rhyming slang. Notice T-Bag from 80s kids TV as a lascivious old dear. See Sabalom Glitz from Doctor Who beat a zombie to death with his own false leg.

There are lots of hilarious small moments, and a big soppy theme of loving your home and your family, and even with the level of gore and language I ended the film smiling and feeling really good.

See this film if:
  • You have an ounce of horror geekery in your body
  • You have a soft spot for elderly British actors having a huge amount of fun
  • You enjoyed Shaun of the Dead
Don't see this film if:
  • You're squeamish
  • You can't cope with Honor Blackman dropping the f-bomb
9/10
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Cuddly Cthulhu)
Skyfall was pretty bloody awesome, aside from the last 90 seconds or so. It's certainly Craig's first Proper Bond Film, and I'd say it's the best Bond film since Goldeneye. The only bit I didn't like in an otherwise very enjoyable film was SPOILER! ) However, I have solved this by adding a thirty second coda to the end of the film in my head: I wish this was a spoiler ).

For a more incisive review, please see the fluffy elephant (you may recognise the content of the first comment).

The Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists is one of those rare films that's better than the book. A thoroughly enjoyable romp, despite some dodgy gender politics, most of which I have forgiven because of the stonkingly good singalongable soundtrack (yes, I'm shallow).

Madagascar 3 was surprisingly enjoyable, but the soundtrack was nowhere near as good so the gender politics bothered me more ;)

Hotel Transylvania was pretty good, despite some REALLY dodgy gender politics AND the only gay character being a serial sexual assaulter (which the film was at pains to normalise - which kind of takes away from the positive of having a gay character in a kids' film. Paranorman did this a LOT better). Holly loved it so much that she wanted to be a vampire for Halloween, though (see yesterday's post).

Red Dwarf the new series has been pretty good. Not "OMG AWESOME!!!" but pretty good. I'd be pleased if they make another series.

Question Time I haven't actually watched this series at all, and my stress level are markedly lower. Still addicted to Any Questions on radio four, though.

Drabblecast is a podcast I would have unreservedly recommended right up until the most recent episode, which had some problematic content hitherto unknown to this listener, and I've been listening for a good 12 or 13 episodes now. The content is very varied but always interesting (even the problematic episode was interesting) and the host has a voice which doesn't grate on my ears, which is almost unknown in a ficion podcast.

Clarkesworld podcast is even better, IMHO. The host has a LOVELY voice, and gives insightful comment on the stories as well as reading them very well (aside from her pronunciation of some English placenames in the superlative "England Under The White Witch" episode).

University Challenge I have been pretty addicted to this series, but that's possibly because of the game James and I have taken to playing while watching it. It's possibly quite a cruel game. We try to spot the serial killer, and what their method of killing is. For example, the most recent episode had a poisoner, a Lecter-esque cannibal, and a very worrying alien wearing human skin...

Dredd

Saturday, September 8th, 2012 09:24 pm
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Judge Death)
I've seen it. I want to see it again. And then probably again. It was bloody marvellous. Anderson in particular kicked serious arse.

There will probably be more (lots more!) and more detailed on this film later, but for now GO SEE THIS FILM. OK, so there's lots of swearing and violence, and some of the violence has sexual connotations but the way it's framed is not disempowering. There's a technical bechdel pass, and the lead bad guy, the person in charge/chief judge, AND one of the two viewpoint characters are female. Stunning cinematography, fabulous performance from Urban, lots of geeky refs...

I'll geek about stuff that's geeky later (Ezquerra block! Tom Frame block! Meat wagons!) but right now it's time to watch tonight's Who.

Holy SHIT that was good.
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Cthulhu the Six!Fan)
One of the joys of our local cinema being in Bradford is that as well as the usual English Language flicks, one also has a wide variety of Bollywood to choose from. So today, we went to see Ek Tha Tiger. It's a spy action thriller romcom musical (Bollywood doesn't really do single genre films) set in India, Iraq, Turkey, Cuba and Dublin. And it was bloody fantastic.

The plot was convoluted but fun, the cinematography was stunning, the fight choreography was amazingly creative, and the sets and costumes were beautiful. If you go and see it (and I recommend that you do) watch out for the Indo-Irish dance routine, the slowmo closeup eyebrow action in the fights, and the hero getting shot in the arse at a crucial moment.

Doesn't pass Bechdel, but does have an arse-kicking, rooftop running, parkour champion of a female lead, who is DEFINITELY her own woman. The hero's neighbours are not all stunningly beautiful starlets, either. There's some old people and some fat people and... nobody comments on this. It's normal.

((I'd also at this point like to say something about the trailers we saw before the film. One was for a romcom starring two fat people in their forties. There was no fat shaming in the trailer, and the cast looked pretty gender balanced. One was for a film about a Bollywood starlet, written by a woman and directed by a woman, and passed Bechdel in the trailer. And one was for a drama about a deaf guy, which appeared to be entirely in sign language.

Why can't we have this level of diversity and interest in mainstream English language films?))

Anyway, Go see this film if:
  • You're tired of conventional Hollywood fare and want to watch something that has bags of originality and creativity.
  • You like a plot that twists and turns
  • You like action movies. Seriously, you'll have to sit through bits of romance and a few dance routines, but it's totally worth it for the fight scenes, which are stunning.

Don't go see this film if:
  • You can't cope with the rapid and random swinging between genres (and, indeed, languages) which comes with this film
  • You haven't got the attention span for a lot of plot twists
  • You're a joyless, soulless husk

9/10
miss_s_b: (Default)
- Chuck Norris is harder than all the other Expendables AND all the baddies without even trying.
- Chuck Norris is SO hard he can steal Clint Eastwood's theme tune and nobody tells him off.
- The Governator still can't act, and is looking pretty scrawny these days.
- a film can always be improved by the addition of MOAR ACTION HEROES.
- Jet Li does a great Jackie Chan impression if you make enough saucepans available to him
- Jean Claude Van Damme's party piece flying kick would lose him both bollocks and a kidney if he tried it in an ACTUAL fight, it's so slow.
- The best expendable in terms of all round fight skill, brains, and versatility... is the girl.

I enjoyed the Expendables 2 very much. Because, lets face it, if I'm GOING to watch a film that doesn't even try to pass the Bechdel test it might as well be one with enormous explosions and so much testosterone you practically grow bollocks just being in a room where it's showing. It was silly and cheesy and over the top and utterly, utterly hilarious, and I recommend it thoroughly.

Brave

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012 05:21 pm
miss_s_b: Abby Scuto says Awesome (Feminist Heroes: Abby Scuto Awesome)
Just went to see Brave with Holly. It's not perfect - no film ever is - but by Cthulhu it's good. Despite the plot revolving round the relationship between a mother and daughter (which really should NOT be remarkable, but it is) the cast is still majority male, and the story revolves around patriarchal structures. And the short before it is an entirely male affair too. For a film which many have been saying is Hollywood hearing feminist concerns... Well, it's a step in the right direction, but there's still a long way to go.

All that said, though? I really loved it. And Holly loved it too. And there was humour and pathos and character growth and great relationships. The relationship between Merida and her mum and dad reminded me very much of my own family dynamic as a child. Julie Walters' scatty witch is awesome, and Billy Connolly is a fabulous warrior king.

Go see this film if:
  • You are a parent with a child because it's a beautiful examination of parent-child relationships

  • You appreciate beautiful animation and art - the depictions of the Scottish landscape, while clearly fantasy Scotland, are stunning

  • You're sick of movies that think they can be grown up by putting in more sex and swearing, and want ACTUAL grown up examination of deep emotions

  • You appreciate massive attention to detail - the archery scenes in particular are very well done

  • You want to encourage Hollywood to make more films with female leads
Don't go see this film if:
  • You can't cope without lots of explosions because there's only one

  • You can't cope without boys being the centre of attention ALL THE TIME
Brave is by no means the feminist cinematic masterpiece which many have been hoping for, but it's by no means more of the same either. I'd give it a good solid 9/10.
miss_s_b: (feminist heroes: Steph Brown Batgirl)
(Very minor spoilers ahead)

  • Guns are great. Really really great. Even if you accidentally shoot someone who you are torturing for information, the information will fall into your lap immediately anyway, so don't worry about it. Batman is a bit weird for not liking guns and killing random people he's never met before, but it's an acceptable weirdness because other people can do the shooting and killing for him.

  • Anyone who talks about police and government corruption is in it for their own ends. And even if the police and or government DID lie to you, cheat you, and hurt you, they did it for your own good and you should be grateful and never question them. Anybody who does question them is evil and should be ignored.

  • Anyone who cares about their community, or is poor, or both, is a credulous moron who can be made to agree to anything by a charismatic leader. Even if you're stretching the definition of charistmatic leader to a police commissioner who looks like Ned Flanders or a man whose speech is incomprehensible half the time.

  • You can only ever be truly happy and free if you stop caring about anyone other than yourself. Your father (figure) will find this not only acceptable, but laudable. If you really care about other people, you'll end up dead or mad.

The film is very well acted, and shot, and it passes Bechdel, and Catwoman is very cool. But it left a very nasty taste in my mouth for the above reasons. I also find it inconsistent with the tone of the previous two films, in which the citizen's of Gotham were shown to be more than sheep who could be easily manipulated by a criminal mastermind.
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Yorkshire)
Today was a bit of an odd one because we had to miss a chunk of the middle of the day for Holly's birthday party (probably more on which later) but we still caught a few things:

Red Sonja

Apparently, this film is 89 minutes long. It feels like about 3 days. Ponderous would be a massive, massive understatement. Add to the tedious direction the "quality" of the acting from Schwarzenegger and the rest of the cast (although there's a nice bit part from the guy who does the poisoning bit in the Princess Bride) and the dodgy script, and you come up with something that... well, you come up with something that if it were a horror or scifi film, I'd be raving about, but because it's sword and sorcery... Meh. The best thing in it was the annoying kid, that's how bad this film is. And I now know how [personal profile] matgb feels when I'm forcing him to sit though some obscure Tigon classic...

Doctor Who: The Twin Dilemma



Regular readers will know that [personal profile] magister and I go and see this every year. It was what you could call our first date, going to see the Twin Dilemma while the FFW was on. This year it was odd, because it was actually part of the programme and there were Other People in there with us, so we couldn't shout CRAGGY KNOB and VIOLENT BIOLOGICAL ERUPTION at the requisite moments. On the plus side, though, it was introduced by a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable young man called Matthew, who had a special T-shirt made for being Doctor Who Boy for the weekend (and wouldn't let us steal it). Somebody walked out, which we thought was very amusing.

The Wonderful World of The Brothers Grimm in Cinerama

... was what we should have been watching when we went to Holly's birthday party. I would have loved to see it, and what I heard from other attendees at the festival it was great, and only enhanced by the film breaking and them putting the special cinerama "the film has broken" film on...

Masks (Director's Cut UK PREMIERE)

I don't think I can say I liked this film, or even that I enjoyed it per se, but bloody hell it was good. Intelligent script; stunning lighting and photography; beautiful shot-framing and Argento-esque colour pallette; a majority female cast, with (very refreshingly for a genre film) not just a technical Bechdel pass but most scenes that are not single-character a Bechdel pass; and even though the story had a number of women-traumatised-by-events-in-their-pasts, not one of them had a boringly predictable stranger-rape for her trauma.

But by Cthulhu it was harrowing. The structure of it was brilliant. You can feel the beats of how a traditional horror film goes, and the Andreas Marschall is paying very visible homage to several genre classics (especially Suspiria)... and sometimes the scare comes when you expect it, but mostly it doesn't - there's a lot of wrong-footing in this, sometimes only by a few seconds, but it gets tighter and cleverer as the film goes on, and the ending is a double body blow that left me gasping.

The performances from all the cast are astoundingly good, but especially the girls who play Stella and Cecilia, and... I'm trying really hard not to spoiler, here. Look, if you're a fan of horror films go and see this. Seriously. I quite often say that a film is worth seeing, but this is a must see for anyone who has even a passing geekery about the genre. I can't promise you'll enjoy it, but I can promise you'll admire it.

Conclusions

This year's festival was a bit of an odd fish. It was the first one that wasn't run by Tony Earnshaw, after he left the museum this year, and although the new festival director Sarah Crowther has done a sterling job, I did miss the affable old bugger wandering round. It was also slightly different in the types of films shown - a few more new ones, and more eighties nostalgia than seventies. I missed the annual pilgrimage to Horror Express (and so did a lot of other people, by what was written on the "suggestions for next year" chalk boards in the bar)... BUT. I saw more films I hadn't seen before this year than I have at any of the other FFWs, and I think [personal profile] magister did too. And some of them were really really good. And I loved the zombie-ridden trailer. And the make-up ladies were there, applying wounds to small children.

At the end of the day I had a bloody good time, and I geeked lots with like-minded people, and the films were good. So... it wasn't the same old comforting FFW. But it was still well worth the weekend pass and the time off work, and next year I'll be there with bells on.
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Vinny P)
The Toxic Avenger

Sadly this was the theatrical cut, so all the really schlocky bits had been cut :( It was everything I expected it to be, but would have benefited from having the eight minutes that were cut restored.

Hammer Make-up Archive Tour

The museum holds huge amounts of material from Phil Leakey and Roy Ashton's collections of memorabilia from decades of work at Hammer studios; some of it had been put on display for us to have a nosey at, including Christopher Lee's teeth (from a performance as Dracula) and Tom Baker's mask (I think from Vault of Horror). Even more excitingly, though, apparently the museum lets you have a look at some of the other stuff they have if you book in advance and get a curator to guard you while they show you it, so I think that'll be something we'll be doing at some point in the future.

Captain Clegg

Fabulous performance from Cushing (as usual) and the lovely Michael Ripper. The audience was, to my knowledge, somewhat Lib Dem Heavy... Penny and I were discussing it's applicability to current Cleggs afterwards, and wondering who might be the incomprehensible guy who murders Our Glorious Leader. Prescott, possibly, or Pickles...



Vamp

This is one I hadn't seen before. It was an enjoyable slice of eighties hokum, and Grace Jones is stunning in it. The comedy bits weren't too over the top, and the horror was fun and bright in that peculiarly eighties way. Also, the vampires had very impractical eighties teeth; it's a weird thing, vampire teeth have trends LOL. I kind of liked it, but I wouldn't say I loved it. Perhaps if I had seen it at the right age...

Barbarella

... was clearly written by someone on some serious drugs. I had seen it before, but [personal profile] magister hadn't, and it was lots of fun watching his reactions. The atmosphere in the audience was jovial and there was much giggling. And then we went for food before...

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Which I had never seen on the big screen before. I wish there had been more people in there. There were a couple of people gamely shouting all the right responses, and a few more of us singing along, but I'd have liked it rowdier. Props to the girl who dressed up as Columbia, and thanks to [personal profile] magister for helping me into me corset and [personal profile] matgb for fetching it in to the museum for me.
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Lee)
Flesh and Blood

Recut, remastered, and with nearly an hour of extra footage, we didn't get in in time to see all of this definitive documentary on Hammer films, but what we did see was by turns informative, intruguing and hilarious. Definitely one to get the updated DVD of if/when it comes out.

The Monster Squad

I hadn't seen this before, and I really liked it. It was kind of like the Goonies with Monsters, and while it was flawed (the Dracula was rubbish, and the soundtrack was very eighties) there was much in it that was very good indeed. I loved that Frankenstien's monster was a sympathetic character, and I loved that it was the two characters most disdained by the gang of boys (the little girl and the Scary German Guy) who wound up saving the day. There were some lovely references to Universal horrors (the creature from the black lagoon's make-up was particularly effective, and the scene where Frank first meets Phoebe). And I cried at the end, because I'm a big soppy.

Short Films Compendium
  • Bobby Yeah! - a very weird animation that found many many different horrible ways of depicting sperm and fannies. It was very well animated, but I couldn't really find anything to like about it. Possibly would have been OK had it been five minutes, but it was twenty, so I kind of felt it outstayed its welcome.

  • Chomp! (UK PREMIERE) - on the other hand, I really loved this one. Imagine the spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp, except with zombies and a cadaver instead of two dogs and a bowl of spaghetti. And then add some really good acting, especially from the girl zombie.

  • Decapoda Shock - will now be forever known as The One With The Awesome Space Lobster Riding a Horse. Can't really explain it; you have to see it.



  • Perished (UK PREMIERE) - really well executed zombie survival film. Not massively original, but very enjoyable.

  • Once it Started it Could Not End Otherwise (UK PREMIERE) - interesting and arty, but somewhat plotless. I liked it but wouldn't say I loved it.

  • The Hunting Ground (UK PREMIERE) - brilliant. Interesting plot, well-filmed, nice use of sound. The only slight flaw I would pick is that the shopkeeper in it is distractingly reminiscent of Harry Enfield.

  • The Little Mermaid (UK PREMIERE) - beautiful make-up on the mermaid. Nice performances, especially from the uncredited extras in the audience.

  • Bear - a simple morality tale (don't be a prick to your girlfriend) which doesn't end well for anyone concerned. I really liked this one too, especially the ending.
Overall, this was one of the best selections of short films I have ever seen at the FFW. Only one that I didn't like, lots that I more than liked, and not one rape scene. I'd call that a win.

Fright Night

I love this film. I have done for quite some time. All the acting in it is great, the script is fab, the parodic bits are affectionate, and the effects are really gruesome in that special 80s way. And Chris Sarandon is dead sexy in it. It has lots of affectionate references to Hammer (plus some Hammer clips), and really clever use of apples.

It would have been nice had it actually been a film print, though, and not a digital copy. A number of scenes were annoyingly liney/pixellated, and this irritates me a lot more than scratches on an analogue print. Apparently there were similar issues with Quatermass in the other screen, though, plus Quatermass reportedly had lag between lip movement and speech, so at least I didn't feel cheated in that regard.

The Casebook of Eddie Brewer with special guests

I really wanted to see this, but sadly everything was running late and we would have had to leave about half way through to catch the last bus home, so we decided against and came home. It's a shame though, because I'd like to see what can be done on a micro-budget of fifteen hundred quid.

Still, we're watching our nice new BluRay of Dracula Prince of Darkness now, so that's a cheery thing. :)

Roll on tomorrow and The Toxic Avenger and Vamp, amongst others.

Avengers Assemble

Thursday, May 10th, 2012 12:06 am
miss_s_b: leela (feminist heroes: leela)
I loved it. Holly loved it. Holly can't decide if she liked Hulk or Thor best. I can't pick between Iron Man and Black Widow. And Samuel L Jackson Fury was stunningly BAMFish. All the characters were really well drawn, and there were loads of really lovely little touches that wouldn't have been in a by-the-numbers superhero movie, but they were in this and added to its awesome.

However, it wasn't totally unproblematic... I'm not going to go too spoilery, but there are a couple of feministy issues I would like to address.
  1. On the positive side, several people have said that Black Widow isn't given enough to do. Well, she SPOILER! ) then she SPOILER! ) then she SPOILER! ) then she SPOILER! ) then she SPOILER! ) then she SPOILER! ) then she SPOILER! ).

    Now, I'm sorry, but I think that qualifies as enough, especially compared to a couple of the guys, whose storyline is "hit someone" and then "hit some more people". She's the core of the plot. I wish there had been MORE female characters - it would have been particularly lovely to see Jane and Darcy again - but at it's disingenuous to say that the one female hero they had was underused*, and anyone who DOES say that is falling prey to the "women must do twice as much twice as well to be thought of half as good as a man" folly IMHO

  2. Loki SPOILER! ), while not out of character for him, was disappointing. He didn't SPOILER! ), and there would have been outcry if he did. So I still think we have a way to go.

All that said? I'd still give it nine out of ten. And I'm still a bit in love with Tony Stark. And yes, I cried at the SPOILER! ), but since even SPOILER! ), I think I'm allowed



*Pepper, while being v smart and running most of Stark, and knowing everyone better than Tony, is not Rescue in this film, and so I'm not counting her in the hero list.
miss_s_b: (Default)
miss_s_b: (Default)
miss_s_b: (Default)
miss_s_b: (Default)
miss_s_b: (Default)
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Cuddly Cthulhu)
Just got back from seeing this, and...

I really loved it... )

See this film if:
  • You long for the glory days of sumptuous, Victorian-set Hammer Horrors
  • You like creepy and spooky and every so often getting a shock that will jump you out of your seat
  • You want to spend a long time staring into DanRad'sbig blue eyes
  • You want to see a film with a lead female character who has agency and drives the story
Don't see this film if:
  • You want ACTION ALL THE TIME and hate atmosphere-building
  • You don't like scary films; or indeed if you hate the Surly Native style of horror film - where things would be a lot easier for the hero if only people would talk to him
  • You fancied Annie from Life on Mars, because Liz White is not a doe-eyed beauty in this.
  • You insist on a non-technical Bechdel pass


I give it, 9/10 and definitely think it's better than the TV version. But I would caution that the 12A rating is definitely on the liberal side of movie ratings, because I would have crapped myself had I seen that at 12.

((X-posted personal journal and [community profile] brit_horror))
miss_s_b: (Default)

About This Blog

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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.






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