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Top July Films by myETVmedia
Top July Films, a photo by myETVmedia on Flickr.
I came home from work on Hallowe'en to groups of children with their parents, walking up and down our street dressed as creatures of the night, carrying orange buckets for their sweet goodies.

I saw a neighbour come out of the corner shop and at first I thought she had made herself up to look like a zombie. Upon closer inspection, I realised she was just tired.

My boyfriend and I spent the evening watching Byzantium, a pretty decent vampire film set in a nameless location in the British Isles. It had a new twist to the genre: a mother and daughter were on the run because vampires were a brotherhood that did not allow women.

(Nobody knocked on our door.)

The 16-year-old daughter had been moping like a teenager for 200 years. She dealt with her curse by feeding off elderly people who wanted to die. She played the piano beautifully, which made me think of the pianos in St Pancras, with their signs "Play Me." There's one just by the Eurostar's arrival door: visitors from France and beyond, quite often, are greeted by some random traveler playing it as they roll their suitcases into London. It's quite a nice idea and I salute whoever came up with it.

I wish I could play the piano. I wish I could play any musical instrument actually (apart from the triangle.) I'd drop by St Pancras once in a while on my lunch break, sit at the piano and whip up a sonata.


Bethnysium

Aug. 25th, 2013 02:36 pm
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Sitting in a pub on Bethnal Green Rd, drinking cider and listening to classic soul. About to watch Matt Damon's (read his name as said on Team America) Elysium. Took an hour to walk here. Spent 707 calories. Boyfriend is nearby, writing in his journal.

The people looking from outside are just looking at their own reflections... or taking selfies.

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Gary Numan : Warriors by See Gee
Gary Numan : Warriors, a photo by See Gee on Flickr.
I returned to Electric Dreams last Friday. It was good - solid four hours on the dance floor - but emptier than the previous time. I've noticed a pattern with the DJs: start out with popular synth tunes, get the dancefloor going. Then, bring on a DJ that plays obscure stuff that only the hardcore enjoy. Finish it off with a third DJ returning the popular tunes (even Madonna!). 3am, lights go on, everyone goes home.

It's a dying scene though. Always the same (old) faces. Everybody stuck in the same decade. Thatcher is gone but we still keep dancing. As soon as it hits midnight 31st December 1989, we get thrown back to the start of the decade. Everyone else moves on.

On Saturday, I saw Star Trek: Into Darkness on 3D. It was fun, or maybe I was just too gobsmacked by the £17.50 ticket to see it for what it was. No wonder downtown cinemas are dying. The meagre audience had a good chuckle when the screen said after Fast and Furious 6 "reserve your tickets now and avoid the rush." "What rush?" asked the woman beside me holding the tiny £5 popcorn bucket.

I've been going for runs in Victoria Park during week mornings and, last Sunday, I returned to the local pool after a year away. I've been reading loads, working loads, working out loads, wanting to go out loads... but broke.

I'm supporting Norway in tomorrow's Eurovision.

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Walt Whitman by Marion Doss
Walt Whitman, a photo by Marion Doss on Flickr.
I bought a copy of Walt Whitman's poems before yesterday because I've been wanting to revisit Leaves of Grass after hearing him mentioned in My Dinner With Andre. I read Whitman in university and seem to remember my professor not liking him too much; I was a fan though.

I found his poetry collection in that second hand bookshop just by Waitrose in Bloomsbury (the one you go down steps and it's like a Borgean maze of dusty classics.) The book was on the floor, at the top of a poetry pile, waiting for me. £3.

My Dinner With Andre has also made me think/notice about people choosing to dress like what they think they are. I.e. terrorists look like terrorists, designers look like designers, hipsters look like hipsters, bankers look like bankers. We (unconsciously?) try to fit into the stereotype of what we think we should be or look like. Have you noticed? Just watch the news and you'll see confirmation of that.

Who am I? Whom do I look like? I see pictures of myself from 5, 6 years ago and realise how gray my hair has become.

I've also been this week to a launch party by a famous British rapper, and written a letter to a famous dancer (now retired) asking if she'd like me to teach her how to use emails and the internet.

Yesterday, I witnessed two women getting into a fight at the bus stop outside Westfield Stratford. One of them was wearing a hijab and looked Somalian; she was sitting down beside three white British women when she suddenly broke into a loud, angry rant. She accused them of making remarks about her hijab and called them some bad words. Everyone looked at her as if she was mentally ill. A few minutes later, she made a phone call and, during it, began to make offensive comments about the women again. One of them couldn't take it any longer and shouted back: how dare you be racist to me? Somalian lady replied that no British woman shouted at her, which only made the other one shout louder.

An elderly man (muslim as well) tried to calm things as well as the British woman's daughter, but in vain. I saw a policeman walking towards us and made gestures at the daughter that the police was coming. When she understood she tried to stop her mom, but by now there was no stopping that verbal war. More police arrived and the Somalian woman tried to leave. But the police were having none of it - they wanted an explanation as to what was going on. Now Somalian lady looked meek and perhaps aware she was in deep shit (witnesses were also not being allowed to leave - perhaps because it was a suspected racial incident?) I picked up my shopping bags and quickly made a getaway for the Tube.

Later, on my way to friends for a Twin Peaks Marathon, I saw police cars and firetrucks outside my building. People were looking up at the tower block next to ours... one of the flats was on fire.

This morning, I'm debuting a new pair of glasses I bought at Westfield Stratford. The world looks wonky and 3Dish. I can see all the lines on my pale face and I feel even more old.
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Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of PsychoAlfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

On one level, this book is about the making of "Psycho" - from the story based on Ed Gein's killings that germinated the novel of the same name to the massive cultural phenomenon it became upon release, almost turning into a success Hitchcock could never escape from. On another level, this book was to me a great example of how storytelling should work; how to craft a narrative, how to create characters, setting, plot and suspense - all through observing how Hitchcock handled his material.

Film buffs will love the way Rebello shows what happened behind the scenes: the shooting of the famous shower scene, Hitchcock's relationships with the studio execs and stars, and the techniques he used to achieve certain camera shots.

I thought the marketing campaign around Psycho was particularly interesting. Hitchcock filmed a featurette at the house and Bates Motel, giving the viewer a tour of a place "now for sale" after the "terrible events that took place there." It's nicely macabre and tongue-in-cheek. He also did something unheard of at the time: he asked/insisted that film goers watch the film from the beginning, instead of just wandering in halfway through (as was bizarrely the custom at the time.) People were outraged that they had to wait in line until the start of the film, instead of popping in whenever they wanted, but their curiosity won over as the word-of-mouth grew stronger, and a new filmgoing habit was born.

I'd recommend watching Psycho before reading this book, even if you've seen it before.

View all my reviews
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Books by nnnnox
Books, a photo by nnnnox on Flickr.
We've started a Short Story Club with a couple of friends who live near us. They invited us over yesterday for an Easter roast, followed by some wine, coffee and stories by George Saunders read out loud. We also did a bit of creative writing inspired by Lynda Barry's exercises. (The one where you pick a random noun and have to explore a memory attached to it.)

These friends live in a beautiful loft in Hackney, north of Victoria Park. Wooden floors, books everywhere, vintage furniture, and now a piano in the living room. My boyfriend played with it for a bit before requesting we hum 80s synth pop melodies so he could try to pick them up on the piano. I hummed this one-hit-wonder.

Halfway through the afternoon, they asked me if I'd like a free one-year subscription to the London Review of Books. They had just renewed their own subscription and won the chance to nominate a friend for the prize. They also gave me a copy of Granta's The Best of Young Brazilian Novelists as they already had a copy. It was Christmas come early on Easter!

I've had a cold this whole Easter break (I only get sick on holidays and long weekend breaks) so it was nice to leave the flat and be a bit sociable. We had to read George Saunders' "Jon" before our meeting - a story about young people raised in a compound for the sole purpose of testing product advertising. When a couple in love decide to leave the compound, the outside world's reality peeks in.

I remember first encountering George Saunders years ago, at the Hay-on-Wye Festival with my boyfriend, [livejournal.com profile] naturalbornkaos and [livejournal.com profile] kixie. We'd bought tickets to see Zadie Smith interview him (drawn to her celebrity at the time) and we were all converted by his warmth, intelligence and humour. He mostly writes short stories which tend to be funny pokes at modern life. He's a sort of Kurt Vonnegut, actually.

In the evening, after our Easter roast, we walked up the road to the Hackney Picturehouse and watched Cloud Atlas, which I was surprised didn't suck. For the complexity of the novel it is based on, I think the Wachowski siblings and Tom Tykwer did a good job. I was particularly impressed with Halle Berry, the best actor out of the whole lot. And, of course, my neighbour Ben Whishaw! I do wonder though how comprehensible the story was for anyone who'd not read the book. Did it do well in America? I'd be surprised!

Today, I'm having breakfast with a friend at the Pavillion then meeting Silky Bonadutchi this afternoon. Excessive lemsip has done its job and I don't feel so clogged up today. Sadly, this lovely long weekend has gone by too fast...
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Fede Alvarez, Evil Dead, 2013
I was invited yesterday to a press screening of Evil Dead. This was exciting because I don't go to the cinema anymore for horror (hardly anyone wants to go with me) - and especially not in a big one right at Leicester Square, with free beer and pizza served beforehand (and your mobile phone bagged just before the entrance, in case you have any ideas about filming the screen.) There was a buzz of excitement, with a long queue snaking outside the cinema's doors - seemingly all of London's horror reviewers and aficionados in attendance.

I'm no horror expert, but I know when a film stinks.  The dialogue is too expository, wooden and boring.  The film's pace has no suspense, acting is flat and you don't care about the characters.  Every horror cliché is rolled out and it feels like you're watching just a bunch of splatter scenes cobbled together.  You wonder why nobody in this project watched the recent Cabin in the Woods, a successful horror-satire on exactly this sort of horror movie.

I don't remember much of the original Evil Dead - I saw it when I was 12 years old - but I do know that this new Evil Dead is pointless. I can recall the original's macabre sense of humour, its maniacal energy, its uniqueness - no matter how low its budget. Bruce Campbell was perfectly cast for it.  This new Evil Dead is just a studio exercise via various screenwriters on how to gross out teenagers who haven't seen much of anything. The actors are poorly cast and forgettable, moving around like videogame characters in a plot mashed from the original and Cabin in the Woods (with J-horror thrown in at times.)

Someone on Twitter agreed with me; he said that a good horror must get under your skin. Evil Dead is so forgettable that it was completely out of my mind by the time I took my Tube ride home.
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Friday Night:

Watched Paedo Roman Polanski's The Tenant. Still a disturbing movie after all these years, in particular its climax in the building's courtyard. Would love to know what Zizek makes of it: teeth inside walls, cross-dressing, people hanging out in public lavatories covered with Egyptian
hieroglyphics. To me, it's a film about schizophrenia brought on by isolation, perhaps an allegory of Polanski's own life - and even foreshadowing his escape from America and life in France.

On Saturday:

Ate pancakes with homemade syrup, honey, butter, bananas and blueberries for breakfast.  Drank coffee.  Listened to the Best of the Subway Sect while reading an article in Uncut about Vic Godard. He became a postman in the 80s and has been in that profession for nearly 30 years, but still recording music on his spare time. Then I listened to Tom Waits first album, "Closing Time", while reading another article in Uncut about how that album came to be created and what Waits was like at the start of his career. I did not like the album (too sentimental) but found a cover of "Lonely" by Bat for Lashes that is very good.

Went for a walk with my boyfriend to his
studio in Bow, keeping track of our movements through the App "RunKeeper" on my iPhone.[2] Wandered to Mile End afterwards and had lunch at a new restaurant on Mile End Road, Box Noodle. Walked through Mile End Park and visited Matt's Gallery. It had two free exhibitions: an installation by Susan Hiller called "Channels", with flickering TVs and real recordings of people who have gone through near-death experiences; and an installation of found objects by Mike Nelson which reminded my boyfriend of "Outsider Art", and for myself of Jason Voorhees.

Susan Hiller "Channels".

Mike Nelson

Walked down Mile End Road and had a look around a small exhibition in the Whitechapel Gallery on the multi-media magazine Aspen, which was published between 1965 and 1971. It was a bit like McSweeney's, with each edition curated by a different person and featuring people like Susan Sontag and William S. Burroughs. Roland Barthes' "Death of an Author" was first published in it and you can see the original draft with corrections at the exhibition. I studied this essay back in Montreal when I was in Uni - reading it again reminded me of contemporary dance for some reason, and the question of how much of a piece is the choreographer's and how much is the dancer's (limitations). Still, obviously, an interesting question for writers and what they create.

Bought pizzas and salad at Tesco, took the bus home while my boyfriend returned to his studio to collect some material he'll have printed this week. Played Xenoblade Chronicles. Made pizza with salad and ate it while watching cheesy 80s Brit chiller Haunted based on a James Herbert novel (somebody please make him stop writing! Won't somebody think of the trees?) The only good thing in it was Aidan Quinn, a bit of eye candy to distract you from the terrible performances, the silly story and the ridiculous special effects. Bizarrely, during Aidan's sex scene with Kate Beckinsale, a body double was used for him!


Next, we watched the documentary The Dungeons Masters, about three people whose lives revolve around Dungeons and Dragons. Funny, fascinating and horrifying in equal measures.[1]



On Sunday:

Had bagels, fried eggs and coffee for breakfast.  Went for a 5K run in the glorious sunshine over Victoria Park. Ran past a Canadian couple we recently met through a Scottish friend we have in common and said a quick hello. Drank a protein smoothie, took a shower, shaved and washed in the bathroom's sink a pair of winter gloves and socks.  Now writing this while waiting for Wink to bake some french fries in the oven and prepare Tuna sandwiches with the last of the bagels.

[1] I used to play Dungeons and Dragons in my early teens - I got all my friends into it.  There's even strong evidence I was the first to play Dungeons and Dragons in Brasil!!!  And I'm not kidding - it was something that didn't exist over there - it was given to me as a gift by my dad in the mid 80s after one of his trips to England. But I'll never be able to prove it.
[2] By the end of the day we'd walked about 9km accumulated over an hour and a half.
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"For it turns out tha Eyes Wide Shu has almost nothing to say about its ostensible topic—marital fidelity—but it has a great deal to say about Tom Cruise. It might even be that the key t Eyes Wide Shu is not lurking in a coded image appearing only for a split second, but rather in the entire world-famous corpus of Tom Cruise’s acting work. But this would ruin our idea o Eyes Wide Shu as a claustrophobic world unto itself."
Cruise Control, Ben Parker for the Paris Review

"One of the more outlandish conspiracy theories holds that Stanley Kubrick was killed by the Illuminati for revealing too much about the secret society in his final fil Eyes Wide Shut. While the official cause of death was listed as cardiac arrest (certainly not shocking for a 70 year-old man), some conspiracists point to the preponderance of Illuminati symbolism in his films, his clean bill of health prior to dying, and the strange editorial takeover of the film before its release as evidence there was more going on here than meets the eye."
Was Stanley Kubrick Killed by the Illuminati? The Ghost Diaries



I need to see the film again. My boyfriend and I always maintained that it was about Cruise and Kidman, and that maybe Kubrick precipitated the end of their marriage.
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Lana Wachowski - one half of the siblings that made The Matrix trilogy and the upcoming Cloud Atlas film - receives a Human Rights award for being a visible and positive LGBT role model. Her speech is funny, smart and moving - really worth watching the whole thing:

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City of the Dead is a little known horror classic from 1960 that is worth checking out, especially if you like Hitchcock's Psycho. Although it was filmed before Psycho, it was only released afterwards. Similarities in plot twists branded it a plagiarism, but it's now obvious that both films were tapping into some zeitgeist that was just round the corner: the 60s' counterculture explosion.

I'd never even heard of City of the Dead before this last Saturday, when I saw it alongside other horror films at [livejournal.com profile] naturalbornkaos and [livejournal.com profile] moveslikegiallo's awesome Hemel Hellfire Weekender (a back to back horror films marathon plus a quiz, pizza and a raffle of lousy straight-to-DVDs that left everyone a "winner".)

The film revolves around a small village where a witch was burnt in the 1600s - a place now cursed with dry fog and creepy inhabitants. A young university student (a Hitchcock blonde) is encouraged by her university professor to visit the village for two weeks and write her dissertation on the witch persecutions. She arrives and stays at a creepy inn, where all sorts of warnings to run away fail to register in her radar. When she disappears, her uni beau plus her brother decide to investigate.

The film was known in the U.S. as 'Horror Hotel', which lent fire to the critics accusations of plagiarism. Like Hitchcock's Psycho, it has a profusion of stuffed animals hanging on walls, a ballsy blonde that walks straight into danger and a revelation surrounding an old woman's corpse.

I attended a talk at the BFI a week ago on Hitchcock's Women and their magic, delivered by Camille Paglia. It was an amusing talk, in particular because Camille sounded like she'd drunk three cups of coffee beforehand - she was so enthusiastic about her subject. The main thing that stayed with me was her theory that Hitchcock's women were quite independent and unlike the stereotype of the 50s dutiful suburban wife. Impulsive and determined (Rear Window), sexually aggressive (North by Northwest), daredevils (To Catch a Thief), an enigma to men (Vertigo). There were some elements of that in the women of The City of the Dead.

I then started wondering why these two films are so alike. Could it be their writers and directors were somewhat channeling the counterculture movement's birth (on the back of the 50s beat movement?) Psycho with its transsexual killer (upside-down sexual mores) and The City of the Dead with its satanism (overturning of Christianity, the hippies experimentations that led to new cults.) The chills and fears played upon by these films were the anxieties of their audiences? (Including women who are too independent and don't need men.)

Anyway... City of the Dead is worth checking out - perhaps even as a double bill with Psycho.



Oh look... it's available in its entirety on YouTube!
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My family bought its first VCR in 1985, when I was ten years old. Our building had an inhouse cable TV channel (very modern for the time) which showed two films at night (picked by the building manager); but we lived right by a large film rental shop and had wanted for a while the option to choose our own films. The weekend routine was for me to pick five films (this would allow us to keep them until Monday morning) - one comedy, one drama, one action/thriller and two horrors.

The first two films we rented were Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and a B-movie horror from 1983 called The Lift. Indiana was my brother's choice while The Lift was mine. Afterwards, I invented a game with my friends in the building where everyone was trapped in a space (say, a part of the playground that was made up of three walls) while one person played the killer lift (arms for wires that snuck through the door, latched onto legs and dragged them out to their death.)

This memory came back to me today as I was waiting for my tower block's elevator. There's a sign by it that says: "don't throw any garbage in the elevator. CCTV is in full operation." Pointless: you can find all sorts of things in the elevator, from chewed chicken legs to napkins and candy wrappers, and as far as I know nobody has ever been penalised for this. The elevators are new too, installed just last year at great expense to all property owners, but they are already keyed, scratched, spat and battered.

I toyed with this private fantasy as the elevator rose, of it coming to life as someone was defacing it, the walls slowly starting to close in on them as the light flickered and they desperately tried to get out (to no avail). Squish.

The version of The Lift I watched back in 1985 was dubbed in Portuguese - I somehow always thought it was an Italian film. Just discovered that it's actually Dutch and you can watch the whole thing on YouTube.

Here's the trailer with a Marc Almond lookalike for the hero:


Mellow Days

Apr. 7th, 2012 05:38 pm
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In Shepherds' Room by Hamed Saber
In Shepherds' Room, a photo by Hamed Saber on Flickr.
It's 17.32pm Greenwich time and I'm drinking tea from a mug that says "Sex" while listening to indie music on iTunes shuffle. I've been alone most of the day - my boyfriend left in the morning to meet his sister across town and take a £13 yoga class. Like yesterday, he woke me with a cup of coffee before banging the front door in his wake.

I watched videos on my laptop for a while then took a bath (still can't take showers.) The plan was to take a bus to Stratford and walk to the communal garden - do a bit of digging in the dirt before heading downtown to meet [livejournal.com profile] loveinsuburbia for a drink. But the minute I stepped outdoors I knew the day was wrong: ominous drops hitting my head, heavy clouds over London, a sluggishness that couldn't leave me even with the help of soap box screamers outside Westfield. Bought some things in Sainsbury's (why were all the chocolate Easter eggs gone?!) and took the bus back home.

Did a creative writing exercise where I imagined myself to be a half-naked woman about to perform on a cabaret stage with two other lasses. Read a poem by T.S. Eliot. This made me think again of my story - of how the two cabaret dancers and I were performing to soldiers from the 1st World War.

Moved on to A Clash of Kings (the sequel to A Game of Thrones) while Radio 3 played Late Junction from a few days ago. Then I played Xenoblade Chronicles for a few hours (oh god it's going to take me years to complete this bloody soap opera JRPG).

When Sissy A was visiting, she let me copy dozens of films from her hard drive onto my laptop - we watched one of them last night (the new version of The Thing). A friend built a blanket fort in her living room two days ago and held a horror marathon underneath it - I'm tempted to do the same.

Pina

Feb. 13th, 2012 08:06 am
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One of the most beautiful films I've seen in recent years:

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Guy Ritchie, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, 2011
Gosh, what a perfect holiday film! You don't even need to have seen the first one to like this one or understand it. That chemistry that worked so well in the first film between Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr is in full force here, with a big wink to all the people out there writing Sherlock/Holmes slash fiction.  Who nearly steals the show, though, is Jared Harris, who plays the magnificent villain Prof Moriarty, intent on bringing destruction to Europe like a steam punk Bond villain. Moriarty lays one problem after another in front of Sherlock Holmes and Watson, forcing them to travel across Europe - Austria, France, Switzerland - with the help of gypsies in the hope of foiling his plans.

There's a somewhat amusing cameo by Stephen Fry as Sherlock's brother (who keeps calling him "Shirley") but the film really left me wanting to read Conan Doyle's original work, and even Boris Akunin's Fandorin series (this Holmes has a lot of the Russian sleuth in him.)  There are some great one liners (mostly about Brighton), some laugh out scenes and a few jumps - as mindless fun goes, you can't do better than this. Looking forward to the 3rd one.

Wow

Dec. 24th, 2011 09:16 am
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At face value, Gremlins is a horror/comedy about a bunch of little monsters running amok in a nice little American town on Christmas eve. But I was watching it last night decades after the last time I'd seen it, and some things in the story made me wonder. It was the logo of the Pegasus in the town's gas station towards the end of the movie that reminded me of the book The Mythological Unconscious, and of how popular culture uses Jungian archetypes sometimes without realising it.

It struck me that a) Gremlins is about small town mass hysteria at the encroaching of urban, big city living; and b) it's about Chinese products versus American products, perhaps even in a prophetic way.

The conservative, small American town where boy-next-door goes out on prim and proper dates with girl-next-door, where mom spends her time making ginger bread men, where nice neighbours sing carol songs at your door, doesn't have any of the loose, depraved living that the Gremlins bring with them. No smoking, no partying, no raunchy laughter, no dirty jokes. Are the Gremlins the good people's repressed selves? How lustily does the hero's mother wield her knife when she stabs the Gremlins in her kitchen?  Then later, where does the surviving Gremlin run to and multiply into an army? The YMCA's pool!

There's this substory of the hero's father being a crap inventor, full of that American spirit to reach the Dream one day, then here comes along a Chinese "toy" that nearly wrecks the entire town's economy. A little bit like how America now buys everything from China but hardly exports anything.  There's also the hero's neighbour, who owns a tractor and complains of foreign cars and televisions, blaming imaginary Gremlins for their malfunction. And the movie concludes with a battle in the town's shopping mall...

The only two scenes that made me laugh involved the hero's girlfriend, who seems to be a bit of a depressive. The hero is trying to get the courage to ask her out and all she can think of is how some people slit their wrists during Christmas. We later learn she's referring to herself because when she was 9 her dad broke his neck falling down the chimney, dressed as Santa, and Christmas was ruined forever for her. These scenes meant for us to feel sorry for her and flesh her out but I was left wondering if the whole movie wasn't a nightmare in her head.  Because like any nightmare, Gremlins has some massive plot holes - the kind that only make sense when you are in it in your sleep, until you wake up and laugh. (Such as Gremlins multiplying like crazy if water drops on them, yet they spend their whole time running around on snow with no effect.)

The Gremlins theme song is now my ringtone for when [livejournal.com profile] wink_martindale calls me...
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Miranda July, The Future, 2011
I visited the Hackney Picture House with a couple of friends today for the first time , to see Miranda July's new film. Hackney Picture House is a lot like the Rich Mix near Brick Lane, but better laid out: it also has a stage for live music and literature nights, areas for art exhibitions, food and drinks for sale and plenty of sitting space. We were happily impressed by it.

This is the first time I see a Miranda July film (I've only known about her short stories.) I didn't know what to expect which helped me get into the movie (helped by the Picture House's extremely comfortable, reclining seats.) I'm not a big fan of American Quirk/Twee (i.e. Napoleon Dynamite), but The Future worked for me. It's not a film trying to be cool or win an indie audience; it's very centred on Miranda's background in literature, dance and art (some could think of some aspects of it as a little pretentious) but it had enough humour and darkness, I thought, to counterbalance it. Miranda, who wrote and directed it, plays one half of a couple living in L.A. who are on the brink of entering their mid-30s life crisis. There's a print of Escher's on the couple's wall which keeps reappearing in the movie, and it was a smart symbol of the story's structure and the characters' problems: they are stuck in these patterns they can't get out of, trying to make sense of their lives (find meaning and direction), but they keep returning to the same spots.  To which one of my friends added that, also like the Escher's print, their lives are sort of wonderful.

Every time I think American cinema is dead and there's nothing remotely interesting coming out of there, a film comes along to shut me up.
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While I await a new blog entry from Another Nickel in the Machine (the best blog about London in case you didn't know), I made the happy discovery today through Morrissey Solo that the BFI has quite a few documentaries available for free on its website (maybe films too?), especially early ones about London.

We Are the Lambeth Boys (1959)
Morrissey's “Spring Heeled Jim” features several samples from "We Are the Lambeth Boys", a 1959 British documentary by Karel Reisz about the daily activities of members of the Alford House Youth Club, Kennington in late 1950s London.

The dialogue excerpted in the song is from two different conversations, one about a fight between young men and another about abolishing of the death penalty. In the song the two conversations are spliced together to make it sound like one.
There's also a channel on YouTube - OpenFlix - with old films and documentaries.

This is what the internet was made for.

(This doc might be of interest to you [livejournal.com profile] fj, since it's about your neighbourhood!)

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