I should be studying but my brain isn’t quite engaged, and I am spending the whole of tomorrow in the city so I’ll have plenty of time to catch-up and post to my seminars then. I’ll be specifically hunting out cafes without wifi because the internet is just to distracting for the weak willed. Today for instance I stumbled upon Amanda Palmer doing a live Q&A with Berklee students, and by stumble upon I mean I found it on Twitter (greatest time suck ever!). Anyway, tomorrow is going to be an arse of a day as I’ve a doctor’s appointment at 7:30am, lunch date at 1pm, and then a dinner out of the city in the evening. Not sure how I’ll make it through the day without my afternoon nap. Perhaps my ex-office will let me sneak in and have 40 winks in a conference room. On second thoughts maybe not…
In the last few weeks things got rather congested on the Netflix DVD front, whipping through the Instants, but I had Johnny Mnemonic and Robin Hood lingering on the coffee table for weeks. Then Thanksgiving came along and we got back on track (sort of).
The fact that I loved this film is something of a no brainer: Robin Hood myth plus Ridley Scott’s stunning visuals. Like all Brits I grew up with the Robin Hood myth as a bed time story, and over the years I’ve seen many films and TV shows based on it. Some good, and some shockingly awful. What I loved about this version is the way they reworked the story by separating out Robin Longstride and Sir Robert Loxely into two characters, and then weaving them back together. Cate Blanchett was a solid Marion, and the comic banter between her and Robin (Russell Crowe) had a light enough touch that it did not stray into Men In Tights (shockingly awful) territory. It was a stroke of genius to bring the politics of the Northern Barons into the mix, and given that Scott hails from the North-East I am sure he relished the opportunity to march on the South. The supporting cast are stellar, particularly Eileen Atkins as Queen Eleanor and Mark Strong as the francophile villain Godfrey. There aren’t many films that I want to buy on DVD but this would be one of them, and I hope they make a sequel.
How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008 – Dir. Robert B. Weide)
HTLFAAP is based on the memoir, of the same name, of British journalist Toby Young who came to New York in the 90s armed only with his acerbic wit and poor social skills. I’ve watched this film twice. Initially I had no idea who Toby Young was, and found it to be a vaguely entertaining tale of a duck out-of-water crashing his way through the New York celebrity social scene. The second time, thanks to my obsession with Top Chef, I knew exactly who Toby Young was, and I enjoyed it much more as it is a spot on character study of Young. Simon Pegg nails Young’s mannerisms, and I can forgive everyone else (Jeff Bridges, Gillian Anderson, Megan Fox, et al) sleep walking through their roles. This film is a not-so private joke that is much more entertaining when you know who Young is. I have a feeling that the memoir was watered down for the film so I’ll have to hunt it out on the Kindle store.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010 – Dir. Edgar Wright)
SPVTW is kind of like HTLFAAP in that is you are familiar with video games (or the comic the flick is based on) then you will get a lot more out of it. Pilgrim is a 20-something slacker who wants to be a rock star, and date Ramona Flowers; only to be a rock star he and his band have to engage in a battle of the bands competition, and to date Ramona he’ll have to defeat her seven evil exes. It’s a cute hipster-nerd fest with an endless supply of graphic tees, and a snarky script. It left me nostalgic for the 90s when I had magenta hair, and hung out at arcades with Alex (Sega Rally FTW!).
Dorian Gray (2009 – Dir. Oliver Parker)
This is an awful, AWFUL adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s novella. Given the cast and that it is a costume drama I thought it was going to rock or at least be a sumptuous feast. WRONG. I was equally bored and appalled by it – which is quite a feat in itself. I honestly don’t understand how they got it so wrong given that it such a simple (yet spooky) story: man stays young because he has an aging portrait in the attic. Read the book, and avoid this at all costs unless you want to spend 112 minutes clawing your eyes out.
Johnny Mnemonic (1995 – Dir. Robert Longo)
After a month on the coffee table I sent this one back without watching it. Saw it when it first came out and it was a so-so adaptation of a William Gibson story. I think Gibson’s book veer into unfilmable territory, and I have a feeling if I watched I’d be screaming “NOOOOOOOOO!” at the TV.