Tuesday, 30 March 2010
Both videos reveal Simon and Jo's favourite films respectively.
First up, Simon's pick: Jurassic Park -
Now Jo, with his favourite: Jerry Maguire -
Obviously, tell everyone about the show if you like it and - over time - we shall add a little video here and there as they don't take too long to upload and what not - considering we meet up to record everything on Sunday, it only takes a tiny bit of planning to whack out the video camera.
Nevertheless, there are loads of links on the right-side bar including the links to follow us on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook ... I mean, most bloody social networking sites I have tried to squeeze us into.
Remember, we are now on Podomatic, so come Sunday, if you are missing the latest episode, thats one possible reason why. You may need to resubscribe!
Sunday, 28 March 2010
Links to our new hosting site is as follows: http://simonandjofilmshow.podomatic.com/
While the RSS feed is:
Already PodOmatic seems to be a better hosting site...
A little American theme to this weeks podcast as we begin from outside 'Eds Diner' on Old Compton Street and then move to Curzon Soho to discuss a range of films - Jo discusses his favourite film as it is his birthday, while Simon continues his Oscar Odyssey with Driving Miss Daisy from 1989. This is alongside the usual discussion about current film news and UK box-office and new releases.
Music is from The Big Lebowski.
Little White Lies Magazine link here
The Demented Encyclopedia Podcast and the two blogs, Random Ramblings of a Demented Doorknob and Movie Encyclopedia are accessible by clicking on the name.
Finally, all details about the Bradford Film Festival and Mike's Blog Destroy Apathy are here!
Trailers discussed were for Four Lions, Scott Pilgrim VS The World and Stolen...
Sunday, 21 March 2010
Music is by Jacob Groth from his soundtrack to The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo and some music is from Danny Elfmans music for Alice in Wonderland.
Donate to Sports Relief by clicking here
Movie Moxies blog is easy to get to ... so click here
The Mad Hatters 'The Dark of the Matinee' blog and his Matinee Cast - Podcast Number 9 features me - has a hosting site here but you can easily find that link via his blog too.
Lastly, if you want to hear the Shutter Island review I was unhappy about, you can hear that very LAMBcast by going to the website here.
David Lynch is one of those directors I have not fully explored. Prior to Twin Peaks I had only seen Mulholland Drive - and that was only once when I was borrowing and watching films of Jo's. I never invested into Lynch. I think I was always wary because he is a director who is defined more as an Artist than a filmmaker (their not mutually exclusive, but...) whereby his films are often considered a higher-form of filmmaking. Higher-form being a film that requires a semi-intelligent audience who appreicate the artistic qualities of a film - and does not merely view film as a form of entertainment. This often leads me to believe that they must be difficult to engage with and quite challanging in their nature. From watching Anti-Christ I can see that sometimes, that is the case, but sometimes it is not. Michel Gondry, I would imagine, is percieved as a filmmaker who creates a 'higher-form' of film - but I thoroughly enjoy his films. Cronenberg is in the same league as Lynch yet his recent film offerings - Eastern Promises and A History of Violence are incredibly accessible. The whole point I am trying to make is that, turns out, Lynch is quite accessible. Mulholland Drive probably wasn't the best start - while Twin Peaks makes me keen to watch a film that has been sitting on the shelf, unwatched, for many months ... Blue Velvet...
This will also put me in good stead to watch The Elephant Man - a film Tom has been on at me to watch for a long time. I can recall him going on about it when we were in Year 11 even! Nearly a decade ago!
What I reckon ...
I was tempted to start spouting influences and themes of Lynch's work - and then upon reading them on ol' Wiki I found that its a bit harsh to quote someone elses research - especially when I could just point you in the direction of the Wiki page (under David Lynch obviously). Nevertheless, amongst his 'themes' - such as incestuous passion, characters played by the same actor, suppressed 'dark sides', beaten/abused women and the 'small-remote-town-with-a-sinister-side' all feature in this seminal David Lynch piece. I stayed away from this for ages because (a) it was alot of time to invest in, being a TV-series and all and (b) it appeared quite 'deep' and sometimes you have to psych yourself up for that. Nevertheless, Sarah was keen to watch it again (she has seen the entire TV series as a kid and, when she first bought it years ago, rewatched it) and I thought, fair enough - we had finished 24 and I was not going to go near any West Wing for years yet! When we watched it, it was simply a great TV programme - interesting and entertaining making a truly fascinating study of sinister-suburbia.
Years ago, I was in the midst of a Hitchcock phase and happened to mention Shadow of a Doubt a early Hitchcock film starring Joseph Cotton. Nevertheless, a friend of mine Wes, explained that the film is what influences Lynch and his 'sinister-suburbia'-type films. In both Shadow of a Doubt and Twin Peaks you initially see this warm and glowing community - but as Charlie in Shadow of a Doubt realises and Cooper finds out - underneath the community darker stories and histories lay. Seems like everyone in Twin Peaks is having an affair - though the story begins with the murder of top-student Laura Palmer, throughout the series many more murders occur. You can't help but question the police force in the area - there are only so many people who live in Twin Peaks. But on the Wiki page on Lynch it does mention the influence of Hitchcock - and clearly these two features correlate (something not mentioned on the Wiki page - ha - check out my research!).
The first thing I thought also was how similar the couple James Hurley and Donna Hayward are to the two leads in Heathers - a film released two years prior to Twin Peaks. Biker-guy and prim-proper girl - even their clothes seemed so similar. I have to admit, it is interesting how similar Lara Flynn Boyle and Winona Ryder are ... and more interesting when Johnny Depp actually managed to go out with them both too. Clearly, it is easy to decifer Depp's 'type' of woman.
I am not going into the plot too much because, as anyone who has watched Twin Peaks knows - the end of the first series does not exactly close the story. By the end of the series you know the killer and the entire twon of Twin Peaks is clearly a horrible place - but fact is, all the stories have not finished. The characters are in hospital, in jail, shot or dead at the end of the first series so you really have no idea about anything else except who the killer is - fact is, apparently, there is a third person responsible (according to Sarah) so I do have to hunt down that second series. Funnily enough, this second series is a nightmare to get hold of. From the Netherlands, you can get a copy - but there is nothing in the UK yet. Doesn't matter really, because Netherlands and Europe releases are Region 2 copies and they are all in English language - I just have to order it via the internet rather than get it from HMV.
Okay to finish - some fascinating information about the cast. As many people know already, I am an avid admirer of Dawson's Creek so it was really interesting to find out that the characters of Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) and Audrey (Sherliyn Fenn) appear in Series 5 and 6 of the programme. I remember watching it and Sarah telling me 'oh, she's from Twin Peaks' etc, but I couldn't remember. To top it off, Sherilyn Fenn played Pacey's boss in Series 5 - an owner of a restaurant - who, if my memory recalls, fancies Pacey (the whole older woman fiasco again) - while Ashbrook played Pacey's Boss (mental) in Series 6, but in the office environment. I remember the character really well because he was so well played! Semi-cool, semi-annoying arrogant jock-who-done-well type. Everytime, I swear, Dawson's Creek should get more credit given to it! Last point about the cast too - two characters are also the two main leads in The Jets - in the 1961 Oscar Winning Best Picture West Side Story. Both Riff - Dr Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) - and Tony - Mr Horne (Richard Beymer) - are in Twin Peaks. With all the stuff about the cast - Lara Flynn Boyle ... Kyle MacLachlan ... all of that, those initial two points about those four actors are far more fascinating to me.
Having had all that cast stuff out of the way, once I have watched Series 2, I will be alot more interested in the thematic contents of the series - and, as and when it is released or reaches my house - I shall review it and you can have a gander yourself. Not to mention, I can really go to town about how incredibly fantastic Dale Cooper is! Twin Peaks is not only a great TV series but it is also a great way-in to understand Lynch's films. Maybe now is the time for you to watch it - and we can all discuss how the second series begins because, unlike some TV series (no names ...) whereby at the end of the first series a lead character is shot, this shot-character is revealed and this actually interests me, and I actually care about what happens next in the quaint little town of Twin Peaks.
Update 21/03/2010: Article on The Guardian website that has interesting insights into Twin Peaks influence - namely on The Sopranos and Lost.
Friday, 19 March 2010
This was watched a long time ago and is covered on a previous 'The Simon and Jo Show' podcast but, as I see on Movie Moxie's blog, it is being released very soon in America so now seems to be the time to big-up some British movies. But, alas, though it has some incredible moments, overall it sure does have problems.
The pre-credits 'viral-footage' of some youths on a bike, gun in hand, scaring the shit out of the public does shock and place high expectations on the film before we even see Michael Caine. Unfortunately, as soon as we see Caine the films slows down to the pace of the OAP he plays. Which we see initially listening to the radio news-story of the aforementioned 'viral-footage'. He slowly gets up and slowly moves and slowly plays chess with his slow friend. Caine decides to pay back the teenagers after his chess-playing buddy - who has been harrassesd for years (poo stuffed into his letterbox, attempts on his life with fire...) decides to try and fight back with a bayonet. He fails and his 'attack' on the kids merely put him into the attacker category of crime - rather than the victim which he truly was. So, with a plot reminiscent of Gran Torino we have the old-man revenge mission story.
This doesn't take away from the realism - Barber doesn't shy away from the use of shadows and the dark and dingy nature of cheap housing and badly lit streets makes you feel a true part of the film. And helps you understand the fear Caine feels in the area. One specific scene involving Caine torturing a different boy is so cinematic with very few shards of light lighting up Caine as the real fear he wants the youths to see him as. One unneccessary section seems to be some gratutious sexual back stories. One kid who is clearly seen as a little special is dragged away by this drug dealer to his car - this hard-ass drug dealer as another part of the problems in this community and for some reason the guy forces this boy to give him oral sex. Now don't get me wrong, I am sure these things happen - but I thought the focus was on Caine and the 'bad kids' in the area - when you bring in sexual abuse (which clearly the child was a victim of, hence his willingness to do the act) you expect a more compassionate tone. The abuse expected of this boy merely made you feel even more frustrated at the horrendous situation the kids were in. As a teacher, I know full-well that bad kids don't come from nowhere - there is a reason. There is always a reason and in this film, the side we are forced to stand on is Michael Caines. The children are seen as screw-ups - in a violent way and, in this scene, even in a sexual way. No exploration of these characters really let the film down.
Fact is, I felt that the actor who played Noah (Ben Drew) was incredible. His attitude seem real and rooted in a lack of respect for the society he lives in. Everything was shut down. Nothing would phase him - his power and stance in the group was what he lived off because society had apparently given up on him. You get a brief idea of an exceptionally broken family - as you see his Mother try and stop the police from taking her son - but his disrespect towards anyone who tries to help was clear. I look forward to seeing Ben Drew in other films - especially Adulthood as it should be a similar role to this and combine that with the script of Noel Clarke and hopefully
you have a great London-youth drama. There is a small hint of back-story to Harry Brown (Caine) himself - his Wife dies in record time at the start of the film. It seems quite clear that she had been dying for a while and then passes away at the start of the film. We also know that a young 13-year child of his died many years before so there is a tragedy to this guys life - but then again maybe this shuld have been used more - the comparison to the life that theese youths have and how they have wasted their youth terrorising older folk, while Caines child died before he could enjoy his young teenage years. Personally, if the focus was more on the current stage in this mans life - and his hope to rid the estate of these criminals (rather than all this unncessary back story), it would have made a much more focussed film. Instead it attempts to touch on aspects which are never resolved.
Unfortunately for all the good things, the last act seems unneccessary. What begins as a situation on a very small scale and is handled badly by the police (Emily Mortimer as an investigator - what is her purpose? what does she achieve? Frustratingly bad - they might as well have very little police prescence in the film to point out the useless nature of them rather than badly write scenarios to make the same point). Eventually the film snowballs into some large-scale riot and 'twists' finish the story - 'twists' that no one cared to 'look out' for. Something that started so well and could have very slowly built up became incredibly drawn-out and, ultimately, boring by the end. To make matters worse, the last shot is of OAP Caine looking at the subway originally inhabited by the violent youths - and with no one there, he walks through it safely. So, such a complex issue of economic-deprivation and criminal behaviour is simplified to "Old man aims to clear subway".
Then again, on a positive note, Caines angry OAP makes a good point. Having fought in Northern Ireland war, he argues that at that point he was "fighting for something" - while "these kids fight for entertainment" and, consequently, cause chaos. This is not the simple answer. The kids are often involved in these gangs and groups at a very young age and have very little reason to look elsewhere. Why are people not suprised that the children who join these gangs have such a twisted logic. Money, power, sex and control is what 'defines' success in the media - so why are we not suprised that this is created on a smaller scale in shifty housing estates. When success is defined as happiness, family and culture, etc, then the economically-deprived areas will be proud of their important part of society - and not demand the 'money' and 'power' that can be gained very easily in criminal behaviour. We need to think more of Rafelsons Five Easy Pieces rather than everyone expecting to come out on top like Rocky.
Monday, 15 March 2010
This is worth exploring. Her character is only introduced halfway into the film. By the time we see her, Macy has hired the kidnappers, he has spoken to his father-in-law about the deal, the kidnappers have kidnapped Macy's wife in an incredible sequence and, as they drove out of town, the kidnappers not only kill a police officer on their tale but also two civilians who simply happened to pass by when the kidnappers were disposing of the policemans body. Akin to Blood Simple, a murder is never an easy task in a Coen brothers film. Even Gabriel Byrne found how difficult it is to shoot a rat in Millers Crossing. Nevertheless, Frances McDormand's 'Madge' is such a force that as soon as we see her and 'Norm' wake up to the call of a homicide, it is she who is the centre of the story. Everything else turns to dust. Her idiosyncrasies and mannerisms, "yah" simply make every sequence amazing to watch. She notes on the documentary that she can only do 'Madge' when in the wig - which doesn't surprise me. Something so fluid can't be turned on and off - you have to physically become the character.
Then, as previously mention, the theme of a murder. More precisely, murder-going-wrong after a paid-for-hire killer is hired to do such a job. See Millers Crossing and Blood Simple from the same Coen era. This theme in and of itself comes from the Master of Suspense himself - Hitchcock. It always comes down to Hitchcock. Think Rope or Strangers on a Train ... go further than that to simply murders-gone-wrong and we have Psycho, Frenzy, Dial M for Murder ... the list goes on.
In closing, this is a truly great film. It sure does belong 'up there' with the great Coen brothers films. Not only does it bring together many of the Coen's trademarks - but it does so with the most incredible characters in a place so unique that only Joel and Ethan Coen could bring such a place to life with such interest. I thought the film was great and sorry for not having watched it until now.
Sunday, 14 March 2010
The release of Green Zone and Shutter Island gives Simon and Jo a chance to discuss Scorsese and Greengrass. Simon speaks to 'Mad Hatter' from the Matinee Podcast and Dark of the Matinee blog, while Jo will reveal to Simon what films he shall watch due to the losing of the Oscar bet...
The titles on films on Eternal Sunshine of the Logical Mind
'The Runaways' review on Toronto Screen Shots
And of course, Mad Hatters The Dark of the Matinee blog has a great free podcast to boot too!
Music is from Shutter Island and Green Zone
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
I hope you enjoy this treat!
I even managed to place the MP4 onto the 'Movies' section of my ipod too and then watch them there aswell. Maybe the more mobile folks out there would rather do that ... who knows.
Sunday, 7 March 2010
Having just recorded our 22nd podcast, Jo and I decided it was time to spice things up. We still have an exciting quiz to put out hosted by none-other than our regular guest reviewer Richard so that will come in due course along with a few of the following videos.
This is the first and, in the hope to branch out and try new things, Jo and I decided to put together a test video-blog. We are not 100% where we will go with this so to begin, here is an alterternate 'start' to the latest Podcast, whereby you can actually see Jo and I.
We then discuss the new releases and Top 5 UK Box office alongside reviewing Barbarella and Clint Eastwood's 1992 Western Best Picture Unforgiven.
To finish we place bets on the winners at the Oscars and consider the trailers for The Runaways, After. Life and - what looks like - a landmark Disney Documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty.
The letter-guessing game from hell on Blog Cabins
Mad Hatter and his blogs and podcasts on The Dark of the Matinee
Music is from Barbarella.
Tuesday, 2 March 2010
I've decided that my reviews, opinions, analysis, etc of a film is only ever appropriate for people who have seen the film. Spoiler-free on the podcasts, everything else is going to be spoilt on the blog. Chances are most people have seen this, so lets get stuck straight in.
Right. Lets do this. These Bourne movies have been haunting me for a while. Seriously, I have watched this at least three times and every time it never gives me a purpose to watch the second one (alas, inevitably I did - but we'll cover that in the future...). Why? I don't know. I think all the Paris stuff bothered me and the whole deconstruction of the Bond-like character - though interesting - wasn't the most neccessary thing in the world. I feel like the whole concept of James Bond is unrealistic so why do we have to make it realistic? The shitty mini - can it really do all those stunts? No. So the films not realistic. But wait, Bourne and girl discuss how frustrated he is at not knowing who he is. Wow - deep.
I haven't read the Robert Ludlum its based upon - maybe thats a problem - and again, Ludlum openly said how it was inspired by James Bond. Again, why watch 'realistic' James Bond when you still have James Bond? Fact is, this film, in turn, inspired the incredible reboot of James Bond with Casino Royale so maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it isn't as bad as I am saying. Maybe, deep down, I am well aware of how much Graham, the Bangor Represetative, loves the film whilst I am ultimately denying it any credibility purely on that basis. Same reason Muse are rubbish.
So, Jason Bourne wakes up. In the sea. We know nothing and, just like him, we begin to realise what is going on. Its not long until we are clued into Chris Coopers character who believes Bourne is after him and his "Treadstone" team - when in fact Bourne is just defending himself against all the killers Cooper is sending to kill him - one of which is none other that considered-at-the-time-to-be-a-potential-007 Clive Owen. Obviously, akin to Jon Voight and the NSA in Enemy of the State, "Treadstone" is government run - and has every resource at its whim to get Bourne. And like Will Smith in Enemy of the State, again, Bourne has no idea why they are after him - but unlike Smith - he also has no memory of what happened when he woke up in the sea.
After this set-up, it changes direction as the love-interest - akin to Bourne himself - is, by chance, found on the street. Turns out, she is greedy and will take Bourne to Paris. If I was her, I would think that if I was to be offered that amount of money for a car ride ... something is up. Will he kill me upon arrival? Why not? Take the trip and then leg-it. Or, maybe the guy has already killed someone or robbed a bank or ... some illegal activity, and he is expecting me to help him? help an armed felon? Personally, I'd leg it. But turns out, straight off Run Lola Run, love-interest Marie (Potente), is greedy and takes the money and - along the journey falls for Bourne. As he does for her. But then again, in his memory, this is the first love interest he has ever had so of course he'll take it. Think of your first crush - you never forget it.
Upon this third viewing I'll admit, its got good points. The soundtrack is interesting with great music from Moby - 'Extreme Ways' becoming a staple of the franchise - whilst the Paul Oakenfold track 'Ready, Steady, Go!' simply reminds me of Collateral - a far superior film. John Powell was the man behind these choices so well done to him. This range of dance and, as itunes says, "electronica" works exceptionally well but then again, Powell is also the man behidn the music choices in Shrek and - believe me, I'm not a fan - but I can vividly recall plonkers singing to that bloody Eels track from the film. So judging songs to mix into a certain type of film is clearly a talent, and he - by choosing 'Extreme Ways' knows how to choose memorable music that is firmly attached to a film. Then again, I watched Collateral after The Bourne Identity and Paul Oakenfolds 'Ready, Steady, Go!' reminds me more of Tom Cruise, with a gun, in a club rather than a mini. In Paris.
So, to finish. The film is, pretty much, completely set in Paris, giving it a very Europeon flavour. Again, I only recently heard that the James Bond films that have often bombed were set in America. Except Live and Let Die. Then again. That film is racist so ... peak and troughs. Nevertheless, this only adds to the fact that, by being set in Paris, the exotic location reeks more of Bond again rather than a cultured-tone which I assume it was going for. The film ends as the "treadstone" project is terminated in Washington D.C. We watched a film that was ultimately pointless - 'Conklin', aka Chris Cooper, was stupid while everyone else was just following orders from him. The fact that Bourne was merely defends himelf I don't think stands - he can do loads of things, he just can't remember anything. I mean, come on! thats a specific memory. Think Memento - he had a serious problem. Bourne should count his lucky stars in terms of memory-loss.
Fact is, there are a lot of good things - and more importantly - these things set-up a great parrallel and support for Supremacy. Its not as 'incredible' as people say - but I appreciate the different angle on a genre already owned by Bond and Bauer and delivering this successfully. But as 'influential' as this is, The Bourne Identity was influenced by more films that preceded it and, if we're honest, these films were better.
And Matt Damon's "I-don't-know-who-I-am" acting grates after a while. Luckily, by The Bourne Supremacy he knows enough about himself to keep me interested.