Tag Archives: Films

A bee in my bonnet – cinema etiquette

One of the things I hate about going to the cinema is the other people who are so inconsiderate.

We get everything – people texting or chatting on their phones, talking throughout the film, coming into the screen late and then pushing past you to get to their seat (which is ALWAYS in the middle of MY row – why is that?!), people kicking the back of your seat, couples snogging and groping inappropriately in a showing of a children’s film, and others eating really noisily whilst rustling the packets.

I’ve only taken my 3-year-old to see three films in the cinema so far and he has behaved impeccably. He seats quietly, doesn’t kick the seat or run about, and I always give him his snacks in a small tub that won’t rustle (usually things like yoghurt raisins and other soft snacks – silent food – bliss!). If a small child can behave well, why can’t the adults?

As for politely asking people to pipe down – you’re likely to get a tirade of abuse which causes even more of a disturbance than they were creating in the first place and everyone blames you for antagonizing the cretin who needed to be sushed in the first place. Gone are the days of mutual respect and cinema etiquette, and that’s a very sad thing indeed.

Have you borne the brunt of a cinema cretin, or suffered in silence while they ruined the experience for you? How do you deal with it? I’d love to know.


Movie Mondays – Things That Go Bump In The Night

Share your movie picks on your blog and visit your fellow Monday Movie Meme participants to read what they are offering up. Remember and link back to Dale at Smurfin’ the Web.

This week’s topic is… Things that go bump in the night!

I’ve always been a fan of the baddie masquerading as someone completely normal, or even completely innocuous, therefore the “boy next door” who turns out to be a murderous psychopath is always top for me, as nobody ever expects such a “nice guy” to turn out to be the exact opposite.

The perfect example of this is Norman Bates of The Bates Motel in Psycho. In the original version, he is portrayed by mild-mannered Anthony Perkins who is rather skinny and eager to please, so who would suspect what darkness lies under the surface. In the remake, Vince Vaughn portrayed him as rather shy and slightly simple which also made for a great twist (yes, I rather enjoyed the remake!).

In a complete turn-around, I also love a suave, charming bad guy. Take Dracula in his many guises, for example. He’s absolutely mesmerising and a master of deception, and the double-whammy of sex and blood is always great – the uptight Victorians were absolutely shocked and scandalised by the novel when it was published. Now, of course, we find it difficult to separate the blood and the sexiness when it comes to our vampires. Dracula has been played by many a fine actor, but the ones that always spring immediately to mind are Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee and Gary Oldman – the  latter actually managing to infuse his portrayal with sadness and perhaps even a little sympathetically, as well as sexy and scary.

Finally, I have to admit, I love my bad guys to be smart – there’s a lot to be said for intelligence playing a part in psychopathic activities. That’s where my last choice comes in. Dr Hannibal Lecter is quite the most chillingly intellectual murderer ever. Of course, he was first played by Brian Cox in Manhunter (1986), but he is often overlooked in favour of Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal in Silence of the Lambs (1991). Both, however, were scary as hell and worthy of mention.

Movie Mondays – Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Every Monday I’ll post about a movie I’ve seen (whether  recently or some time ago), or a video I’ve shot myself (perhaps even more than one!). I hope you’ll all join in and post a comment with a link back to your own Movie Mondays posts.

No matter how much you love Christmas, sometimes all the schmaltz in the seasonal movies gets too much. We get sick of seeing misty-eyed children catching a glimpse of the fabled Man In Red; bored with heartwarming tales where some underprivileged unbeliever finally believes; and tired of Scrooges being filled with the spirit of Christmas (not the alcoholic kind!).  Sometimes we want something bitter to cut through the saccharine sweetness…

So, what if everything we thought we knew about Santa Claus turned out to be lies? What if it was all prettified for the kiddies and we forgot the truth? What if Santa isn’t a nice guy at all? You’d better watch out, because Santa knows if you’ve been bad or good – and he doesn’t give a damn!

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale looks to be the perfect antidote to all the slushiness we can usually expect at this time of year. Hard-edged and throwing all the myths and legends back in our faces, bringing something far more dangerous and visceral to life. This year, EVERYONE will believe in Santa Claus…

I can hardly wait to see this film!

Movie Mondays – Labyrinth

Every Monday I’ll post about a movie I’ve seen (whether  recently or some time ago), or a video I’ve shot myself (perhaps even more than one!). I hope you’ll all join in and post a comment with a link back to your own Movie Mondays posts.

One of my all-time favourite films is Labyrinth. Sure, it’s 24 years old and doesn’t feature any major action sequences and huge, explosive super-special effects, but there are many reasons why this film still rocks as hard as it did when it was first released. Here are just five of them…

1. It stars David Bowie as the Goblin King
You’ve got David Bowie. In skin-tight, well, tights, really (and sometimes PVC – cool!). And a big wig. And he sings. He’s just all kinds of awesome, really and the fact that he sings as well as putting in a fabulously eccentric performance that suits the character perfectly just adds to its awesomeness.

2. It has Jim Henson puppets
I grew up in the 80s, watching The Muppet Show and Sesame Street, so I always loved (and still do love) Jim Henson’s creations. Labyrinth features some of the best puppetry there has ever been, and the characters are brilliant. (the Fireys are still my favourites though!) Which brings me to number…

3. It features Brian Froud’s artwork
Have you seen Good Fairies / Bad Fairies? Or Lady Cottington’s Book of Pressed Fairies? If not, you should go and find copies of both IMMEDIATELY. Go on. Off you go. I’ve even provided links so you can find them easily. And you can browse the website of the artist too. Have you done that? OK, how gorgeous is Froud’s work? Enough said. (Incidentally, the baby, Toby, is Toby Froud – the artist’s son!)

4. The screenplay was written by Terry Jones
Yes, THAT Terry Jones. The one from Monty Python. That’s the one. Which means the script is witty and humourous as well as heartwarming and whimsical.

5. It has a fantastic soundtrack
You remind me of the babe (what babe?)
The babe with the power (what power?)
The power of voodoo (who do?) you do
(Do what?) Remind me of the babe!

It has quite the most wonderful soundtrack of any fantasy film EVER. Why? Because it’s David Bowie, that’s why! Did you really need to ask? Take a look below for a sample:

Are you a fellow fan of Labyrinth? What do YOU think makes it such a great film? Have you never seen it? Did you see it and hate it? I’d love to hear your comments…

Movie Mondays – Fun with Xander

This is the start of Movie Mondays!

Every Monday I’ll post about a movie I’ve seen (whether  recently or some time ago), or a video I’ve shot myself (perhaps even more than one!). I hope you’ll all join in and post a comment with a link back to your own Movie Mondays posts.

This week I thought I’d share a couple of videos of my son, Xander, having fun in the park this past weekend. Up until now, he’s refused point-blank to do anything other than run round and round the park – he wouldn’t go down the slide, or on the swings, roundabout or seesaw – nothing. Then, suddenly he decided he’d give them a try after all – all on the same day! I shot a couple of videos of him having some fun on the swings and roundabout.

Once we were home again, Xander decided to go and find a pair of my high-heeled stiletto shoes and parade around in them. He actually managed quite well in them, and although I only managed to film for a moment (he kept grabbing for the camera so he could have a look), he continued playing in my shoes for a while afterwards, picking up quite a speed. I think I may have the next Eddie Izzard on my hands!

I hope you enjoyed my little videos of Xander and will leave a comment with a link to your own Movie Mondays post. 🙂


007 Reasons Why Bond Sucks

007 – License to Nitpick

I actually enjoy a good Bond film, at least, I did until that unsuitable blonde-ish guy got cast in the role – that’s where it all went wrong for me, really – but there are quite a few things wrong with the Bond series. Here are my top seven:

001: What woman in her right mind would allow herself to be seduced by Commander Bond? He’s a chauvinistic, misogynist git of the highest order and is probably riddled with disease from the amount of casual and seemingly unprotected sex with hundreds of different women. I’m especially appalled at the amount of female enemy spies who succumb to his charm – surely they’re trained to expect this sort of thing and use it to their advantage? IDIOTS!

002: What kind of agent allows himself to be captured just because the bad guy has a gun pointed at someone else’s head? Whatever happened to the art of detachment? What about a sense of duty to your country? Surely a spy should put the mission first, even if it means sacrificing the bird they picked up an hour ago and shagged twice just for the hell of it? Let the villain put a bullet through her numb skull – she deserves it for letting Bond get his equipment anywhere near her in the first place and it’s probably better than the long, drawn out suffering she can expect from extensive contact with his nether regions.

003: What kind of super-villain captures the enemy spy, ties him up, explains the intricate details of his nefarious plans, then leaves him alone to  affect a daring escape while the lasers that are supposed to snuff him out warm up? A not-so-super one, that’s what! I, however, would make an excellent villain. After sneaking up and capturing the enemy spy, I would delicately place the muzzle of the pistol against the base of their skull and oh-so-gently squeeze the trigger, painting the floor in front of them an exciting shade of brain. No soliloquies, no gloating, just a swift, clean execution as befits an enemy of mine. They don’t need to know all my plans and neither do any others who may be lurking nearby trying to take notes.

004: How the hell do the villains manage to build massive sub-volcanic cavernous lairs without anyone noticing? Does nobody see the builders moving in and question where all that expensive state-of-the-art equipment is going to? Or do they just happen upon them, fully formed and move in? Do they have a special removal firm called “Villains R Us” to transport all their gear after getting everyone to sign a secrecy agreement? I’d love to see that: “Well, Mr Bad-Guy, we can move you in the morning of the twelfth, but I can’t do it before then, mate!”

005: Your average Joe (or Jane) on the street instantly knows how to use all kinds of sophisticated weaponry despite never having had any training. They can just whack in the magazine, chamber a round and start shooting willy-nilly. They also instantly become crack-shots and are able to “cover” the hero whilst he runs around setting off his many gadgets.

006: Bond never forgets anything. You never hear him suddenly swear because he’s just remembered he left the exploding pen in his other jacket or forgot to wear his rappelling belt that morning. And he’s able to improvise eloquently and slide down a wire without a harness and without ripping his hands to shreds whilst a screaming girlie hangs around his neck without throttling him.

007: Nobody ever gets stuck for words – they’re always ready with a wise-crack on the spur of the moment. You never see Bond walking away and then realising five minutes later what he should have said that would have been so clever if he’d thought of it on time. Does he rehearse in front of the mirror, preparing himself for every eventuality so he’ll always have a quip to roll off the tip of his tongue?

So, there you go, a few reasons why Bond is just a bit crap, even though I like the odd bit of escapism now and then. Anyone fancy adding some more to my list?

My Favourite Scary Movies

As Halloween is fast approaching, and I’m a fan of horror movies, I thought I’d mention a few of them. However, I’d like to start by mentioning that “scary” movies don’t actually scare me, and there’s a very good reason for that…

You see, I was brought up on Hammer Horror films. Now, I know that by today’s standards these films are old hat and pretty much nobody would find them scary today, but when you’re only seven years old, people would expect you to be turning pale at Christopher Lee in Taste The Blood Of Dracula! I never did – because of my Mam.

My Mam always seemed to love the old Hammer Horrors (I’ve no idea if she still does) and as they were pretty mild, I was allowed to watch them with her. Under her instruction, the blood dripping from Dracula’s mouth was never blood – it was tomato sauce! It was constantly reinforced to me that nothing that happened on the screen was actually real, and that can make all the difference to a kid if they can be made to truly believe that – and I did!

So, here, without further ado, are thirteen of my all-time favourites – the list is far from exhaustive and represents a cross-section of my faves from the  past fifty years or so, and are presented in chronological order. I hope that if you haven’t already seen them, you’ll look them out and give them a try, and that even if you’ve seen them a million times already, you’ll watch again.

1.  The Devil Rides Out (1968)
Christopher Lee and Charles Gray are fantastic in this Satanic abduction horror. It’s atmospheric and Lee is doing what he does best – being incredibly imposing and charming! I like this one far better than all the Dracula films Lee did, despite being a BIG vampire fan.

2. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Another chillingly atmospheric thriller as Mia Farrow falls foul of her devil-worshipping neighbours with nefarious plans. Based on the equally brilliant book by Ira Levin, Polanski managed to perfectly capture the full horror of Rosemary’s situation.

3. The Wicker Man (1973)
Badly remade in 2006, the original starring Christopher Lee and Edward Woodward is far superior! Village mentality mixed with a Pagan cult (which does no favours to real Pagans, but can be forgiven because it’s such a damned good film!) lead to a good, Christian copper desperately searching for answers as the clock ticks. And there are a couple of excruciatingly nasty shots which will make you feel sick to your stomach.

4. The Exorcist (1973)
Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells will forever be associated with this dark study of a child possessed by demonic forces, but that’s no bad thing! Linda Blair is wonderful as the girl under the control of evil, and Max von Sydow is always a name to be reckoned with. GO and watch it now – the power of Christ compels you!

5. Carrie (1976)
Who hasn’t at least heard of Stephen King’s debut? WHo doesn’t already know about the final shock at the end? Don’t you still jump, even though you’re expecting it? Sissy Spacek’s perfect turn as the bullied telekinetic teen ensures this film’s place on the list of all-time horror classics!

6. The Omen (1976)
Another one that was recently remade (2006) although the remake wasn’t half bad, even if it was nowhere near the original on any level. It had a very hard act to follow – who could hold a candle to the suave Gregory Peck playing a father who finds his son isn’t his son at all. How would you handle it? Would you have the strength to go as far as he does? Stunning performances all round, but special mention goes to Billy Whitelaw as the sinister Mrs Baylock!

7. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
John Landis’ film featured pioneering special effects which at the time had never been seen, and had to be seen to be believed. Now, of course, we have CGI that looks so much better, but it’s still worth revisiting this classic and marvelling at not only the effects, but the performances, writing and direction. It has horror and humour in spades. It also caused my sister, Leni, to be terrified of going to the bathroom alone after viewing it for the first time. Fair enough – she must have been about 6 or 7 at the time!

8. The Hunger (1983)
David Bowie, Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve are, for me, the unholy trinity! Beautifully shot with touching scenes depicting loss and longing with stirling performances from all three. The horror of the situation is actually the fate of Miriam’s lovers…

9. The Lost Boys (1987)
This was the film that brought vampires bang up to date with a hip young gang of teenaged vampires running amuck in Santa Carla. It had the double-whammy of the two Coreys (Feldman and Haim) who were pretty big at the time, eye candy Jason Patric, and the wonderful Keifer Sutherland who was perfectly cast as David.

10. Candyman (1992)
Kickstarted a slew of urban legend related movies in the 90s, but this is the original ad best. Virginia Madsen is compelling as a student working on her thesis, and Tony Todd put the willies up a LOT of people who will never feel quite safe repeating the name Candyman in front of a mirror – just in case!

11. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Part road trip, part crime caper and part vampire flick – this might sounds like a terrible mix, but it really works! An unual cast that included Harvey Keitel as a preacher who has lost his faith, Juliet Lewis as his sweet an innocent teenaged daughter, and George Clooney as a hardened criminal on the lam sounded like it was all back to front, but Tarantino pulled it off with quirky aplomb.

12. Event Horizon (1997)
This is actually the horror film that came closest to completely wigging me out. In my defence, I was more than a little drunk when I went to see it in the cinema, but it is incredibly graphic and even now causes me to wince at some of the scenes.  It was once described to me as “The Shining in space”, but I never thought much of The Shining and loved this. There are some similar elements – going slowly mad in a confined space being the main one – but this, for me, outshines The Shining on every level.

13. Ring (1998)
No, not the sloppy American re-make, but the original, tense Japanese version. If you watch this alone late at night, I guarantee you’ll be unplugging the TV before you go to bed! It really is rather freaky and the tension builds so well that you hardly notice it until your nerves are twanging!

So, there you have it, thirteen of my favourites. There are plenty of others I had to leave off the list, and I’m sure I’ve missed many of your own favourites, but I’d love to know which horror flicks you love, so please leave a comment and let me know!