Category: Must See Films

Farewell Alan Rickman

Farewell Alan Rickman

 

Alan-Rickman

After the sad passing of David Bowie, we mourn too fast and say farewell Alan Rickman.

He was one of my favourite actors, truly!

He was born 69 years ago in Acton, North London not far from where I live.

I remember in 1982,  first seeing him brilliantly playing the slippery unctious almost creepy  Reverend Obadiah Slope in the excellent BBC drama series Barchester Chronicles, based on the novels of Anthony Trollope. Even then he was a standout.

Such role type would follow Alan Rickman throughout his long and varied career.

He appeared in many TV programes, theatre plays and movies. He was a theatre director as well as a consummate actor.

You could see in his eyes that he had a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ (not take seriously), some of his roles although he always gave a brilliant performance.

In movies as a co star, he often out-acted the lead actors/movie stars.

Sometimes underated and indeed he should have been the lead in many more movies.

Rickman was deliciously over the top, sardonically as the Sheriff of Nottingham to Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.

Alan Rickman Sheriff of Notthingham

This was followed  by playing another baddie, Hans Gruber winning the battle of wit and acting  with Bruce Willis in Die Hard with a Vengeance.

alan_rickman_Die hard

The movie that for me showed Rickman was a brilliant actor and playing a non baddie role. was in the excellent humourous and moving 1990 movie Truly, Madly Deeply.

Alnn RickmanTruly Madly Deeply005

Alan plays the ‘ghost’ of a recently deceased husband who returns to his desperately grieving wife to try and lessen her grief by showing what he was really like.

To younger generations, he was famous by reverting to type but playing the ultimately heroic character sneering  Severus Snape in the immensely successful and popular Harry Potter movies.

Alan Rickman Harry Potter

For me, he would have made a superb Dr Who, He had all the attributes, eccentricity of Snape, humour (as he  showed in the funny sci fi comedy Galaxy Quest) and commanding voice of reason essential to the good Doctor.

Added to that,  Alan Rickman  could also have been a flamboyant USS Enterprise starship captain in Star Trek  🙂

Spock Who?

Spock Who?

 

Alan Rickman had a  wonderfully mefluous baritone voice and could supebly deliver & convey dry humour, sarcasic and sardonic undertones to his lines with a twinkle in his eyes.

As noted, he had a marvellous  range of expressions. Sneers, dry humour & poignancy  would play across his face.

English & British acting has lost one of it’s crown jewels.

Requiescat in Pace  Alan Rickman

 

 

Farewell Leonard Nimoy

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One of our Star Trek Commemorative Plates of the man or should I say Spock himself

Being an avid Science Fiction (sci fi)  fan, I have read many novels seen moves and TV and radios  series of the genre.

I prefer to read, watch or listen to sci fi that has potential to become science fact and indeed has happened!

One such TV series is Star Trek. I grew up in the 1960s and there was not much sci fi on TV. I listened with my parents to some sci fi plays such as  the classic ‘Quatermass’ on BBC radio every Sunday evening. When ‘Dr Who’ came along on BBC TV in 1963  (now the longest running continuous sci fi tv series in the world). I was so happy and despite the black & white viewing  and sometimes wobbly stage sets and  minimal primitive special effects (sfx), the excellent actors and stories ultimately enchanted millions of viewers.

With the advent of colour viewing TV in the mid 1960s, more  sci fi  Tv series were produced, many from the USA.

One such was,  of course ‘Star Trek’. Created by Gene Rodenberry, it introduced the crew & their weekly adventures in a faster-than-light travel space ship called the ‘USS Enterprise’.  There were  British sailing ships called HMS Enterprise AKA Enterprize)  in the 1700s and one in 1800s.

In the pilot episode (1964) of Star Trek, one of the crew was referred to as a ‘Vulcanian’ a humanoid from from the Planet Vulcan orbiting the star 40 Eridani  . about 16 light years from earth, Vulcan could reached in a few days in the warp speed Enterprise class star ships. The Vulcanian was called ‘Mr Spock’, as apparently his Vulcan name was unpronounceable to humans!

A new to the scene actor named Leonard Nimoy was chosen to play Spock.

The Vulcan race looked human except for pointed ears, arched eyebrows, distinctive hairstyles, a slight green skin pallor due to green blood.

Vulcans were stronger and faster than humans, due the higher gravity less oxygen rich atmosphere and heat on Vulcan. Vulcans were extremely long lived too 300 years. They exercise extreme control over their emotions as taught by  a venerated philosopher named Surak. as early in their history Vulcans were prone to violence.

My Spock was later described  as being  half human with his father the renowned, statesman like ambassador Sarek (well played by actor Mark Leonard) and human mother Amanda Grayson.

This early Mr Spock looked rather harsh and shouted a lot!

Spock Pilot Star Trek 1964

Spock Pilot Star Trek 1964

 

After the pilot show, Gene Rodenberry was not satisfied and made big cast changes for the series proper in 1966. A new captain of the Enterprise was brought in ( William Shatner as Capt Kirk), A new ships doctor, actor Deforest Kelly as Dr (Bones) McCoy.

Leonard and his distinctive appearance as Spock now known as a Vulcan, was retained and he became the second in command to Kirk.

Spock’s appearance was softened, as was his voice and manner, becoming calmer and most logical as befits a Vulcan.

Spock’s  ‘bantering’ and put downs with Dr McCoy with Kirk as referee were brilliant, but their underlying loyalty and friendship to each other shone through as the series progressed; His Vulcan catchphrase and hand gesture became legendary too!

Off course,  this crew became legendary in TV sci fi  & the motion picture history.

Leonard Nimoy was also known to us in early  ‘Mission Impossible’ TV show fans as ‘Paris’, a master of disguise brought in to the ‘Impossible Mission Force’ 1969-1971.  Mission Impossible was made at the same studios at the classic Star Trek series and so Leonard could swap pointy ears for various disguises!

Leonard was also a guest star in one my favourite detective series ‘Columbo’.  Spock’s logic was no match for Columbo’s detective ability

Mr Spock appeared in the various Star Trek sequels  and movies including the excellent  reboot of the franchise under JJ Abrams

Zachary Quinto’s likeness as the young Spock although in a different time line captures that essence of Nimoy.

Spock and then other characters live on in the Star Trek novels I enjoy reading.

Leonard  Nimoy crafted and evolved Spock into one of the most popular, recognisable & iconic characters in entertainment.

Where ever you are now in that ‘undiscovered country’ Leonard  “Live Long And Prosper“…

Spock LLAP

 

Classic  original crew of the EnterpriseClassic original crew of the Enterprise

 

 

Spock,_resurrected Zachory Quinot young spock

Spock in his second Century                             A young Spock (Zachary Quinto)

paris Leoanard Nimoy& Peter Falk in Columbo

Paris in Mission Impossible                 A baddie in Columbo

Farewell Leonard Nimoy

 

50 Shades of Red

50 shades of plaid

 50 Shades of Red

We may be familiar with Chicago’s St Valentine’s Day massacre, well  some new Valentine violence occurred at a cinema in Glasgow, Scotland this 14 February I suppose 50 Shades of Red!

To us Brits, Glasgow is known as Scotland’s most violent places and is legendary for introducing the so called ‘Glasgow Kiss’, which is a headbutt to the face!

Many years ago, a Scottish colleague/friend said that when there was a tense situation in a Glasgow pub, one of the protagonist’s would say to the other ” Pick a window you’re leavin’.”

The Glasgow cinema was showing the eagerly and hotly anticipated movie version of the British best seller ’50 Shades of Grey’ on St Valentine’s Day.

Three women were arrested for attacking a  man who apparently asked them to make less noise, as they were part of a group of ladies who were screaming during the screening!

The cinema theatre also sells alcohol, which appears to have fuelled the females flames of passion.

I guess this should not be too unexpected getting a group of Glasgow Gals together to check out and ogle the well ripped & fit Jamie Dornan 😉

We wonder if the man, the poor victim, did not produce 50 shades of sh*t (could also perhaps describe what many viewers & critics think of the movie),  when surrounded by a rampant hormonal horde 🙂

Philip Seymour Hoffman R.I.P.

We are shocked and sad to hear of death of Philip Seymour Hoffman.
The Academy Award (Oscar) American actor was found dead in his Manhattan apartment in New York.

Medical officials have not yet commented on the cause of death but a drug overdose is suspected.

Hoffmann made his name in the 1990s in films including Boogie Nights and the Big Lebowski, Mission Impossible etc before winning the best actor Oscar for his portrayal of writer Truman Capote in 2005.

 Philip Seymour Hoffman as Capote

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Capote

He was a talented and very versatile actor, we enjoyed his superb performance in ‘Capote’.

The Giant Mechanical Man Movie

Last night Jean & I chatted about what movie to watch  on TV, normally we watch stuff on Netflix.  As we have been watching a steady diet of action, crime horror, thriller movies. Jean suggested a romantic movie. Normally I guess men would not opt for watching these movies by choice, in order to not become in touch with their feminine side 😉

Anyway, I said OK and let’s have a look at the choices. I scrolled through the titles on offer. I came across one I thought sounded vaguely sci fi I like 😉

It was titled ‘The Giant Mechanical Man‘, it is directed by Lee Kirk. The synopsis sounded interesting so we watched the film. I must say that I enjoyed this off-beat & charming movie. This indie movie excellently conveyed loneliness at not being understood, feeling awkward socially and a bewilderment with today’s society. There is fine acting by all the main cast.

Spoiler alert!

The movie is about a man & a woman both well-educated, single & in their 30s, who though not knowing each other, live near each other.  Whilst not exactly mis-fits, they both still don’t know what they want out of life and find it too hard to conform to what is expected of them by their families and some friends. Janice(Jenna Fischer) is a shy woman, who is still trying to get to grips and navigate her way through adult life, trying to cope with jobs, relationships etc.

Tim(Chris Messina) is devoted to being a street artist.
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Janice Meets her future Man

Janice Meets her Future Man

He is a good listener!

He is a good listener!

Each day he becomes a silver-painted and silver suited giant( he wears stilts), android business man, complete with a silver brief case. When he finds a spot/pitch in a street, he performs his living statue, mechanical man mime act. He makes enough to pay the bills. His live in girlfriend does not understand him and tires of his lack of apparent ambition and so breaks up with him.

Janice loses her latest temporary job and the temp agency who find her work, lets her go because of complaints about her attendance and lack of interest. She is evicted from her apartment and forced to move in with her overbearing and interfering younger sister Jill (Malin Akerman) and her husband Brian (Rich Sommer). Janice is pressured by sister & brother-in-law to date Doug (Topher Grace), who is an egotistical self-help guru (probably socially inept and who tries to cover up by blustering) .

While out walking alone a few time, Janice sees this giant mechanical man street artist performing and is intrigued, she sees him as fellow non-conformist and kindred spirit. Janice tries to talk to the street artist, but part of his act is to remain silent and act oblivious to people.

Both Janice and & Tim search for a job (Tim finds he needs to supplement his street performing income). Both find low paying menial jobs at the local zoo (Janice eventually realises her potential in the job and gets promoted). They meet & chat while working and Tim recognises Janice as the lady who caught his eye while he was performing. They become good friends and realise they have much in common. Janice & Tim begin to date and become lovers. Tim has not yet told her that he is a street performer. However Tim becomes upset when as his alter ego, performing one night, he sees Janice walking with the persistent pompous Doug, who has his arm around her (much to her annoyance). She finally dumps Doug. Tim stops contacting her, she becomes sad and while out walking sees the street artist performing and walks up to him and desperately needing someone to talk to, she tells of her feelings for Tim, to the silent artist. He then looks down at her and smiles, she recognises the artist is Tim and the rest is history…living happily ever after 🙂

State of Being Happy

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.
~Eleanor Roosevelt

Thought of the Day
21 January 2014
………………..
If you do something worthwhile there is a possibility that you become happy as a result. Happiness is something that you get from doing something really lovely to people; their happiness or good fortune makes you happy.

It can also be the result of achieving what you have wanted whether it is good or bad in a schadenfreude kinda way. Oh yes everyone is capable of feeling a fleeting happiness or joy in the misfortune of others, otherwise Charlie Chaplin would not have been such a successful actor with all his slapsticks skits. And Mr Bean, and like him, would have not tickled our funny bones (but to tell you the truth, I don’t really like Mr Bean, I find his television and film comedies too excruciating for comfort).

Whoops got a bit sidetrack there. Anyway happiness is not always the end result of something. Happiness can be found in the simpliest of things. Happiness may come to you when you least expect it.

Classic Scenes & Quotes from Great Horror Movies

A bit early for Halloween, although ghostly tales are told around Christmas and winter time from pagan times to pass the time and entertain on the long cold and dark winter nights..Brrr! 😉
These quotes are from cult, iconic and classic horror movies from the 1930s to the 2000s.
See if you can identify and name the movie!

Caution: some strong language in some of the scene quotes.

R.I.P Peter O’Toole

 

Peter O'Toole Lawrence of Arabia

Peter O’Toole Lawrence of Arabia

 

Sadly just announced  the death of one of our greatest actors Peter O’Toole at age 81. I remember his mesmeric performance in Lawrence of Arabia. His amazing shining blue eyes out shone the desert sun! Despite many Oscar  nominations (7), he never won the Academy Award he so deserved.

Peter lived not far from us in Cricklewood, NW London.  He was an underrated actor, known for many fine acting roles. One I remember was in theatre, where he played the celebrated journalist and bon vivant Jeffrey Bernard (Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell) . Indeed in later life,I think  there was some resemblance in looks and lifestyle of both Jeffrey and Peter!

Another great actor and character makes his exit  from the Stage of Life. R I P Peter O’Toole.

Meeting Beetlejuice

Happy Hallowe’en!!!

As we all know today is All Hallows Eve, the day/evening before All Saints (a.k.a. All Hallows) on 1st November. Halloween is the night when all spirits of the departed can return to earth for one night only each year. It is the night when demons, devils, fairies, goblins, witches, wizards and warlocks wander abroad. November 2nd is All Souls Day, when the  departed, deceased family, relatives and friends etc.,  are commemorated by Christian churches in the West.

Beetlejuice imagesCAKBJ97AA dark murky 6.40am time, as I was on my 20 minute commuting walk to my local underground (Tube) station, I saw in the gloom ahead a figure in white striding ahead of me. As I got nearer and we have  both arrived at the station (Golders Green), I saw it was a man dressed as the cool horror movie character  ‘Beetlejuice’, the ghostly/demon exorcist, (played by Michael Keaton). Apparently the sequel Beetle Juice 2  may be made soon 🙂

 

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He was wearing a pure white suit with thick black stripes, he wore white face make up with blacked out eyes and mouth topped off with a green wig. He looked the part. I had to smile, also he was also carrying the commuter accessory of a back pack/rucksack and was wearing earphones, maybe he was listening to spooky music?
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When the train pulled into the platform, he sat opposite me in the carriage. He did indeed look so conspicuous and colourful  and stood out from us dull autumn garbed fellow Tube travellers!

No one seemed to look at him except me. I got spooked that perhaps I was the only that could see him!

He got (at least not floated ) off the train at Euston.

I guess he may have been an office worker wearing Halloween fancy dress for a fun ‘dressing up day’ at work, some  workplaces, firms & companies here do have  sometimes. Also  some wear costumes  to get charity donations too. Good for him as it brightens up a routine commuting and work day!

Hmm Miley Cyrus did Halloween twerking with BJ 😉

 

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Independent (Indie) Philippine cinema

Here is an interesting BBC news item from BBC news relating to the growth in indie and other movies in the Philippines. Where cinema and home grown movies are having a resurgence. 🙂

Amee  Enriquez BBC News

SM Megamall cinema in the Philippines

Independent (Indie) Philippine cinema

More movie screens are expected to be built in the next few years in the Philippines

In the Philippines, Hollywood is king at the box office. Seven of the top 10 movies in 2012 – including The Avengers and The Amazing Spiderman – were Hollywood flicks, says Box Office Mojo, a website which tracks industry revenue.

The other three movies, which all had romance as their main theme, were local productions from major film studios.

But a shift is starting to take place in Philippine cinema as independent films made without studio backing begin to stake more of a claim.

The Philippines has one of the oldest film industries in Asia, dating back to 1897. Watching movies is a popular past time and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) expects movie screens to increase from about 700 at present to 1,000 in 2015.

Studio-backed productions usually favour a tried-and-tested formula – big-name stars, romance, a dose of comedy and a popular song used as the movie title.

What Isn’t There

Philippine filmmaker Marie Jamora

A dare from a friend one New Year’s Eve finally pushed Marie Jamora to finish the script of her first feature film, Ang Nawawala (What Isn’t There), released in 2012.

She was working on a draft she could not seem to finish. But that night she approached another scriptwriter and together they finished the script in six months.

Ms Jamora tried to apply for international film grants “but they were not interested in a suburban middle class Filipino story”.

Local film festival Cinemalaya, however, selected their script for development. Ms Jamora set up a grassroots campaign, raising money online and pitching to anyone who would listen.

The film was well-viewed and won many awards during its debut at Cinemalaya, including Audience Choice for the New Breed category.

It has also been screened in film festivals in the US and Asia. It is now making its way to Europe, and will premiere in London later this month.

But now a host of new film-makers are trying to change that, with indie film production on the rise. Of the 256 local films released in 2012, 216 were indie – many “helmed by the younger generation”, the FDCP said.

“I wanted to make a film that I, myself, wanted to watch,” Marie Jamora, 34, said of her first feature film, Ang Nawawala (What Isn’t There).

She funded her film – the coming of age of a middle-class boy who stopped speaking after a family tragedy – from a Cinemalaya film festival investment of 500,000 pesos ($11,500, £71,000), funds raised online and donations from family, friends and strangers.

“The reception has been great,” Ms Jamora said, adding she had met people who watched the film over and over, including “a kid who watched seven times in maybe a month”.

The film, which sold out during its debut at the annual Cinemalaya in 2012, continues to be shown locally and at international film screenings.

As well as receiving critical acclaim, the film also managed to show a small profit, debunking the notion that indies typically suffer losses.

Like Ms Jamora, Pepe Diokno funded his filmEngkwentro (Clash) – about two teenage boys being hunted by a vigilante group – with an investment from Cinemalaya and donations from family and friends.

Only 21 at the time, he said no major studio would have backed his project because of its controversial theme.

His work, however, drew mixed reactions from local audiences when it was released in 2009.

While his film enjoyed a limited commercial run, it did not make money. But it went on to win two major prizes at the Venice International Film Festival, and the prize money was more than enough to cover the production cost of one million pesos, he said.

Now Mr Diokno is working on his second indie, Above the Clouds, a co-production with Philippine investors and funding from the French government, scheduled for next year.

‘Going for it’

Jessica Zafra, who has been writing about films for the past two decades, says that lower filmmaking costs, better funding available outside the studio system and the rise of independent film festivals have helped the indies.

The development of cheaper digital technology has also helped movie innovators.

“The great thing about the current indie boom is that excellent work is being done by filmmakers we’ve never heard of. It’s no longer the same group of people,” Ms Zafra says.

“The Best Picture winners at Cinemalaya and CineFilipino [film festivals] were directed by 21-year-olds.”

But even veteran filmmakers are experimenting with indie projects, says Phil Dy, who has been a film critic since 2007.

Clash

Philippine filmmaker Pepe Diokno

When Pepe Diokno was 19, he carried out research about young people in jail for a documentary.

In the southern city of Davao, he met two brothers, aged 15 and 17, who said they were being hunted by a vigilante group. The vigilantes shot at them at their home, they said, and told him that their best friend had been killed days before.

The meeting inspired Mr Diokno’s first film, Engkwentro (Clash), which he produced when he was still at university in 2009.

He was just 22 when he won two major awards at the Venice Film Festival for Clash – the Orizzonti (New Horizons) and the Lion of the Future prizes.

“We went there, we were told that we were the youngest crew,” he says.

Mr Diokno is now working on his second movie, about a 15-year-old boy who lost his parents in a flood and has to live with his estranged grandfather.

“Apparently, these old guys, they still have a lot to say,” he said. Now more than ever, Mr Dy adds, filmmakers have more freedom. “They really are just going for it. They are just telling the stories they want to tell,” he said.

Challenges remain, however. Those interviewed agreed it was still an uphill climb for indie films to become box office hits, although there have been exceptional cases.

Indies normally do not have funds for marketing beyond the film festivals and there is also the issue of engaging audiences.

But Mr Diokno said a lot had changed since he made his first film. “What excites me the most is that Filipino films are starting to be appreciated by Filipinos themselves,” he said.

Studios were more willing now to pick up indie films, he added.

“It fills both gaps. The indies provide fresh content which the studios are lacking in, and the studios provide advertising and distribution machinery, which the indies don’t have. And that’s a good thing,” he said.

Ms Jamora, who is now working on her second feature, says she has been getting calls from studios interested in her work.

“There’s a new market of movie-watchers who are clamouring for a film that is not necessarily about politics or not about society per se,” she said.

And the future for Philippine cinema, especially indie films, indeed looks promising.

“I really think that one of the reasons why Philippine cinema is so rich and active right now is that we have a very big community of people who watch and discuss and debate and criticise movies,” Mr Diokno says.

Link to FDCP

http://www.fdcp.ph/