Home Again (2017)

If you want a feel good film that might make you shed a lil tear of awh but leaves you smiling, this should do the job!

There are romances, there are kisses, there are un-requited passions but there is only one really ridiculous sequence, the rest is very lifelike. The film delivers the hardest thing: make drama seem like everyday life while still being drama.

Excellent performances all round, a hugely refreshing absence of 1950s gender stereotypes and.. you know… some realness in the fantasy!

Above all, it’s an ensemble piece and great to watch a group of actors just having such great chemistry with each other, including the kids who are just too sweet!

The Lad Who Would Be King

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6811018/

A great romp, based on the Arthurian legends but set in a modern, believable Britain. Like Attack The Block, the film depicts kids without going all Disney and syrupy and shite.

Also, a really lovely, inventive score that has some of the best melding of orchestral and electronic sounds I’ve heard in years, by the Electric Wave Bureau, Albarn’s outfit.

AAAND another great directorial / writing outing for Joe Cornish. He’s just getting better and better… Some beautiful Spielbergian touches with the kids and also a fair amount of classic Brit ambience.

Everest (2015)

Everest is a 2015 biographicaladventure film directed and produced by Baltasar Kormákur and written by William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy, adapted from Beck Weathers‘ memoir Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest(2000). It stars an ensemble cast of Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Emily Watson, and Jake Gyllenhaal. It is based on the real events of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, and focuses on the survival attempts of two expedition groups, one led by Rob Hall (Clarke) and the other by Scott Fischer (Gyllenhaal).

Source: Everest (2015)

Just watched this and spent most of the last half hour weeping. The scenes with Hall and his pregnant wife…. you’d have to be made of fucking stone not to tear up.

I never saw Everest when it was first released, I don’t know why. But this is a seriously moving film. It never strays into worthiness or hagiography, opting instead for an almost documentary feel. I deliberately didn’t look up the true story it’s based on beforehand because I didn’t want the ending spoiled. So, when it did come, I had no idea who would make it off the mountain or not. And I did keep hoping, ridiculously, that they would all make it.

When it comes… oh god.

What makes it worse is that I watched the iTunes Extras which features interviews with the bereaved relatives including a daughter who never got to meet her father. Again, I dare you to watch that without dehydrating yourself through crying.

The heart of this film and the respect it pays to the real human lives it portrays is very rare. Add that to the wonderful acting, script and visual effects and you have one hell of a film, one that I know I’ll be coming back to in the future.

Professor Marston & The Wonder Women

Just watched PM&TWW with my bff and I feel really emotionally wrung out. It’s perhaps the most positive, honest film depiction of polyamory I’ve seen so far.

As someone who’s been in both mono and poly relationships (though I’d never go mono again), this film finally gets past the prurience and into the meat of the emotions. Situations can get so emotionally superhyperovercharged and the level of understanding and communication you all need is… well… it can be a shock at first. But in a world where 95% of relationships are lies told to cover temporary lusts, honesty can seem like a slap in the face.

I felt so moved at the end of the film, it made me miss different exes so much in so many ways. But the way I look at it is probably similar to how Marston did; I’m blessed to have had those women in my life whether it’s for 14 weeks or 14 years.

In 2018, I wish that people still didn’t equate jealousy with love, with abuse as some kind of sign of caring. Owning someone like property, making them a slave, is not a virtue.

Freedom.

Grand Budapest Hotel Made Me Cry Again

Gustave: I suppose this is to be expected back in… Where do you come from again?

Zero: Aq Salim al-Jabat.

Gustave: Precisely. I suppose this is to be expected back in Aq Salim al-Jabat where one’s prized possessions are a stack of filthy carpets and a starving goat, and one sleeps behind a tent flap and survives on wild dates and scarabs. But it’s not how I trained you. What on God’s earth possessed you to leave the homeland where you obviously belong and travel unspeakable distances to become a penniless immigrant in a refined, highly-cultivated society that, quite frankly, could’ve gotten along very well without you?

Zero: The war.

Gustave: Say again?

Zero: Well, you see, my father was murdered and the rest of my family were executed by firing squad. Our village was burned to the ground and those who managed to survive were forced to flee. I left because of the war.

Gustave: I see. So you’re, actually, really more of a refugee, in that sense? Truly. Well, I suppose I’d better take back everything I just said. What a bloody idiot I am. Pathetic fool. Goddamn, selfish bastard. This is disgraceful, and it’s beneath the standards of the Grand Budapest. I apologize on behalf of the hotel.

Zero: It’s not your fault. You were just upset I forgot the perfume.

Gustave: Don’t make excuses for me. I owe you my life. You are my dear friend and protege and I’m very proud of you. You must know that. I’m so sorry, Zero.

Zero: We’re brothers.

Every time. I cannot pass this scene without it just killing me. Maybe it’s the perfectly deadpan way Zero explains his past, the horrors having become normalised. Maybe it’s Gustave’s sudden flip from casual racism to abject apology.

Whatever it is, I wish there were more kind hearts in the world now, I wish people were as quick to help others as to condemn.

Channing Tatum

(This is from a Tumblr thread where people were defending Tatum. Well, I had to add something, didn’t I?)

He IS brilliant in Hail Caesar, not least because he’s also having sly fun with popular notions about him as an actor. Takes a brave actor to do that and keep on point.

May I also add:

Channing in Step Up

Channing in Haywire

Channing in The Eagle.

You see, I, too, used to be a Channing-hater. Not, like, hugely or anything. But I’d go along with mates when they’d make fun of him or snort if I read film reviews slagging him off.

This was until I actually engaged my own critical faculties honestly. 

I started realising… ‘oh wow, that bloke in Step Up… that’s CHANNING TATUM?!?’

‘That bloke in Haywire… that’s CHANNING TATUM?!?’

etcetera…

And then I realised that what we have in Mr. Tatum is a young actor who can dance, do romantic smouldering, light comedy, horrible secret agent villains and brooding soldiers haunted by loss of honour.

Tatum is a superbly flexible, adventurous and fearless actor. Where other actors find the ONE NOTE and then grind on that fucker for decades, hoping an Oscar will pop out, Tatum will have covered a myriad worlds, creating characters that have zero in common apart from his obviously gorgeous physicality.

I mean, he could just coast by on his looks, couldn’t he? He doesn’t really need to take risks but look at the man’s IMDB: he consistently does.

At the minute, Tatum is PRIME BEEF. He is beautiful and that will limit the roles he gets offered, as it does beautiful actresses (though to a lesser extent, of course, since Hollywood hates women). But Tatum’s work ethic and career arc reminds me of someone…

Here’s young Michael Caine. Pretty, isn’t he? He could have coasted on those looks but if you look at his IMDB, you’ll see an actor who got stuck in. He just acted and acted and acted, which is why we still know and love him now, decades after his equally-attractive comrades are forgotten. Yeah, Caine also did a lot of dodgy films but that’s my point ~ you HAVE TO. You don’t get to be in the Hail Caesars unless you’re also in the Jupiter Ascendings (and that’s no disrespect to JA, I love that slab of dog-gene, royalist bee crazy but I’m in the minority, I know).

We have yet to see the best from Tatum. Think of how great he’ll be when he’s a wrinkly, gnarly, hairy-eared old geezer! Think of the decades of experience of playing a huge gamut of characters he’ll be able to draw from. He’ll be too old for the 20-something romcom lead or the action hero, he will get characters with more layers, more complexity…

Destination Star Trek 50 @NEC, Birmingham, 7-9/10/16

Waiting to break a Guinness World Record for number of cosplayers! #dst50 #destinationstartrek50 #tos #tas #tng #ds9 #voyager #enterprise #fb #fl #startrek

After the original series was cancelled, there was no Star Trek on television until the animated series in 1973. When the producers were casting the cartoon, they initially decided not to use George Takei and Nichelle Nichols. It would save money to get their roles played by other actors.

But Leonard Nimoy refused to work on the series unless the entire original cast was brought back. He believed that the message of Trek was one of diversity and no two actors better represented that ideal than Takei and Nichols. He stood up for his fellow actors in a way that is very rare in TV and film.

This is what Star Trek is all about. This is what Star Trek means to me.

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My feet hurt. I have Euclideanly flat feet so walking any distance is always a painful chore. My feet are red and will take a couple of days to recover from the weekend. They’re in that state because I spent the last three days walking round the NEC, the venue for Destination Star Trek 50. (The 50 stands for the fifty years since the original series’ first episode was first broadcast, way back in 1966.) My Trek buddy Nat and I joined thousands of others who all flocked to Hall 4 to see our idols in person and perhaps get their autograph or even a photo with them.

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The event was chocker with Trek actors; Marina Sirtis, Alice Krige, Garrett Wang, Armin Shimmerman, WILLIAM FUCKING SHATNER…. Well, you get the idea. It was wall-to-wall famous faces. I heard Marina, Alice and Christoper Lloyd take part in a great talk about the differences between TV and cinema (well, it was meant to be, it covered a much wilder gamut, thanks to the always fabulous Ms. Sirtis).

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I also heard Adam Nimoy talk about his beautiful documentary, For The Love Of Spock and I have to confess that I was crying through a lot of that event. For me, Trek and Spock and my Dad are all interconnected. I miss my Dad so much and he loved Spock / Nimoy as much as I did. It was my Dad who introduced me to SF and Star Trek, we used to love watching it together, right up to the reboot films. When Nimoy died, my Dad was truly saddened by his passing. He would have loved Adam’s documentary had he lived long enough to see it.

Nat and I dropped in on other talks and competitions too. But we both agreed that the best part of the whole event was, as Adam Nimoy and Marina Sirtis both stated separately, the fans.

inclsuion

If you want a feeling of inclusion, if you want a feeling of being an un-judged member of a family, go to a Star Trek con. I talked here about the utopian and profoundly progressive DNA of Trek and the proof of that is in the fandom. In no other place will you find such open minds and open hearts. We don’t care about race or gender or sexuality or religion or physical shape. Hell, we don’t even care if you only know one show or only like one character. The MRA-fuelled bile of the gaming scene, the gatekeeping, bullying and sexist vitriol has no place in Trek fandom. Any Trek convention you go to will be the anti-matter version of a Trump rally. Take all that right-wing paranoia and hatred and fear and pessimism about the future and replace it with throngs of people who accept the beauty of infinite diversity in infinite combination.

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I wandered about all weekend, getting pics of fellow Trekkies and you can see for yourself the diversity of our cadre. Some of us are blind, some of us can see, some of us are bipedal, some of us are tripedal or roll on four wheels. Some of us are old and wrinkly, some are tiny, enthusiastic children, leaping about with glee. Me, I’m hugely fat and look uncannily like a perplexed walrus. None of that matters because we are the best people.

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Why? Because we dream of a future that is the opposite of Theresa May’s desperate Norsefire manifesto. We dream of a future where Earth is at peace and education, healthcare and food is universally available and accessible. The people I met at DST50 are the best people. Overwhelmingly friendly, charming and geekily garrulous, I had a fucking blast this weekend.

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If you get the chance to go to a Trek con, pick out a costume (or don’t, if you’re shy, doesn’t matter!) and then GO. You won’t regret it. Promise.

Until then, live long and prosper.