Tag Archives: cinema

Tried a good movie recently?

Le Mans '66

Candice: Though I love a good book, I do also enjoy a trip to the movies.  I find sitting in a dark cinema, surrounded by noise and a big screen helps me escape into another world the way books do.

Obviously at the moment cinema trips are a no-no, however, I have managed to watch a few good films via my Amazon account.

Having so much home time on our hands means that to differentiate between the week and the weekend we’ve taken to ordering a takeaway and sitting down to a film after the little one goes to bed.  Access to Amazon is like going to Blockbuster (for those of you who remember renting films) – it means you can pick from some good titles for not a lot of money and then relax with a film and a beer.

Over the last few weeks, I have watched ‘Hustlers’, the Jennifer Lopez film about a group of strippers who resorted to more creative ways to make money when the bottom dropped out of the market after the crash in 2008.  It was a good film, though I found it hard to work out why these girls would work together, as it is normally more dog eat dog with women.  And the outfits, or lack of them, were eye-opening!

Then there was ‘Blinded by the Light’, a great British film about an Asian family trying to integrate (or not in some cases) in Luton in the 80s.  Good tunes, flashbacks on clothing and hairstyles and comedy about British and Muslim cultures clashing.  Enjoyed that one.

Last weekend we bought ‘Le Mans 66’.  Its subtitle is ‘Ford vs Ferrari’ and it tells the tale of Ford’s decision to get into racing and knock Ferrari off its winning perch.  Why did they want to do that?  Well because someone in marketing told them their cars weren’t sexy enough.

I am a bit of a car buff (I used to drive an Alfa) so this wasn’t just a pick by the other half.  And I have to say, watch this film.  It’s two and a half hours long so we split it over two nights and we were hooked.  The race scenes pulled you in and you just wanted to know what happened.  There was an extra piece in Christian Bale’s character, a feisty mechanic turned driver who spoke as he saw, made even more funny as he was from Birmingham and still had the accent.

There was pace, tension, frustration, relationships and heartbreak, and some great car shots too.  I’m even more of a fan as my ‘midlife crisis’ car is a ’66 Mustang Convertible, the car that they use for the base of the race car.

Yep, that cheered up my lock in weekend.  Wonder what we can find for next week?

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Jurassic World

Candice: In my last blog post I talked about great summer reading.  The kind of book you can enjoy on a sun lounger and then leave in the hotel library without a care in the world because its not ‘War and Peace’ it’s just an enjoyable light read.

So that leads me nicely to the other thing we get over the summer months  – Blockbusters.  So named as they are the big film that can make or break a studio as they have to generate a big financial return.  They normally involve something child and adult friendly which doesn’t have a lot of plot.

The other week I went to see ‘Jurassic World’, a nice bit of big budget fluff.  I remember the other films when they came out 20 + years ago, I particular remember the first with some dramatic deaths – in a loo – and the stealthy velociraptors, a dinosaur I hadn’t even heard of before that film.

So we cut to a reboot as the film companies like to call it, roll in a new hunk and a new way that the dinos can cause chaos and you have a whole new franchise.  In fact the film pokes fun at itself with a theme park based around the animals where they are having to make them bigger and more dangerous to keep the crowds coming in, and a whole chase scene where the escapees are hiding in the stuffed toys and tshirts.

You know, even though I could drive a truck with a T-Rex on it through the plot, and it was obvious what would happen with the love interest, I loved every bit of it.  Two hours of complete and utter tosh that had me hiding behind my hands and chewing my nails to work out what would happen next (even though I really knew).  And that to me is perfect book and film fodder, absolute escapism that does not change the world but gives me a break from reality.

So, whats next on the cinema viewing list? Any recommendations?

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Skyfall isn’t about beautiful women, guns, cars or things going bang. It’s much simpler than that.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/94/Turner%2C_J._M._W._-_The_Fighting_T%C3%A9m%C3%A9raire_tugged_to_her_last_Berth_to_be_broken.jpg/800px-Turner%2C_J._M._W._-_The_Fighting_T%C3%A9m%C3%A9raire_tugged_to_her_last_Berth_to_be_broken.jpgPhil: Only a few weeks after everyone else, I finally got around to seeing the latest James Bond film, Skyfall.

It’s really rather good. The last two films in the series suffered from the producers who find CGI so easy that they decided to fill the film with it, giving two hours of relentless, crunching action sparing no room for silly things like plot, character development or changes of pace. (See also: The three Star Wars prequels, that terrible “reboot” of Star Trek, Indiana Jones 4 and loads of other films.)

This time we get something much more complex, but at its heart, far simpler.

Before you think I’m some sort of auteur, pay attention and the hints are dropped with a subtlety that even Agatha Christie would balk at. The important scene is the one where Bond and Q meet in the National Gallery in front of the Turner painting “The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up“.

The painting shows a great  sail powered warship being taken to the breakers by a steam ship. Modern propulsion triumphs over the once great, but now obsolete predecessor.

This is the recurring theme through the film. It’s suggested that M should retire because the world has changed. That agents in the field are less important than nerds with computers and so on. By the end though, fortune has been reversed – the iconic 1960’s Aston Martin is a better mode of transport than a modern car, even if M comments on its lack of comfort. At least when it was bought, someone ticked the option box marked “machine guns”  (Well, you would wouldn’t you) and the final blow is struck with a knife. No one dies by iPad.

A strong central theme is important for a story and it certainly provides both poignancy and purpose for Skyfall.

Returning to the painting though, there is another lesson for the writer. Turner didn’t see the scene he portrayed. The Temeraire would have been little more than a hull by the time she was hauled to be scrapped. Masts and cannon would have been removed, as would anything of value. Despite this, the scene shows her in her prime – not because it’s accurate but because it makes for a better story. It’s as much fiction as the film, and just as entertaining.

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