Category Archives: Film

Paddington

Paddington

It’s a fun concept to have the Earl from Downton fighting Mrs Coulter over a bear, with some assistance from the Doctor. Paddington was lovely. I’d heard he would be, but you still want to make sure.

Going to see Paddington was our New Year’s Eve treat, and it was (shock, horror) our first cinema outing after moving. We will be back soon again, and as the car parking has been paid until tomorrow lunch time, perhaps we should hurry.

I don’t know the book about Paddington as well as I ought to, but on the plus side that meant I didn’t have to sit there wondering why they left things out or why they put new things in. It was all rather sweet, and I now feel I have a deeper understanding of the background to the marmalade.

The bear jokes were funny and obvious, and so much better for it. ‘Bear left!’

There is something deliciously scary having Nicole Kidman looking like a sweet, young thing, and being so truly bad. And Hugh Bonneville didn’t really have to alter his Downton personality. The Earl would also disapprove of a bear moving in, until he saw the light and changed his mind and started loving the bear.

Mrs Brown was perfectly cast, and I’d love for Sally Hawkins to be my mummy, too. London looked great (if fairly romantically portrayed), and little Paddington was a charming young man. Bear, sorry.

Peter Capaldi was fantastic, and I’m only pointing that out because I’ve not seen him in much. And when I move to London, I’ll go and live in that street, too. Please?

Paddington

Not so noir

Saltkråkan with corpses, is how we saw Maria Lang’s Crimes of Passion series start. Death of a Loved One was quite enjoyable, with – for me – surprisingly few cringey moments. I will never forgive them for ruining ‘my’ Christer Wijk, however. Just imagine putting Wickham in Poirot as Hastings, say. I can’t stand Ola Rapace, although he did a good job (if one wanted Christer Wijk to be that kind of a man) of looking handsome and cool.

Crimes of Passion, Death of a Loved One

Not dark enough, was the online verdict. But it is high time people realise Sweden can be both sweet and retro. Too. They love Midsomer Murders, for god’s sake. This was a normal, and period, Swedish set-up, albeit with murderers everywhere. And as the Swedish title suggests; everyone is lying. Not just the murderer.

I loved the books in my early teens, along with Agatha Christie. That’s what you need to expect, not The Killing on any Bridge whatsoever. Not even moody Wallander. Just lovely retro settings with gruesome murders.

Nothing wrong with that. Sit back and enjoy the clothes and the 1950s houses, and forget about the level of nicotine and alcohol. I’m surprised the detective was sober enough to deduce much at all. But then, it was really his unintended sidekick Puck who proved she had brains.

Goodbye to two greats

To begin with I only knew Robin Williams as the funny man in Sesame Street. I think he counted shoes, or some such thing. When I encountered him in a film later, I naively thought he’d made the jump to ‘bigger’ things. When Mork & Mindy was on television, we didn’t have one. So I never watched.

Thus I never knew him all that well. OK, I’ve seen Good Morning Vietnam, and Mrs Doubtfire and Good Will Hunting. He was good, but I don’t believe I found him enjoyable. At least not after Sesame Street. Actually, I did catch some Mork & Mindy episodes more recently, and they were fun.

Robin’s death came too soon and for the wrong reasons. Let’s hope depression will be seen in a new light from now on.

Lauren Bacall, on the other hand, lived a long life. As the Resident IT Consultant said, he was surprised to hear she was still alive. I knew that, but somehow I mainly thought of her as the young actress in To Have and Have Not, and as Mrs Humphrey Bogart. I was a great fan of hers and Humphrey’s back then. These days you don’t watch the old films anywhere near as much as they deserve.

Younger people – like Daughter – are most likely to have seen Lauren in Murder on the Orient Express.

I hope Lauren was happier than Robin was. It’s astounding to consider that she was Humphrey Bogart’s widow for virtually all of my life. Back then she was an adult and as such ‘old’ to me. It’s more recently that I’ve thought about her age and the age gap.

But enough about unimportant details. Thanks for all those marvellous films with Humphrey. I loved you both.

Chez Braveheart

I’m wondering whether I need to watch Braveheart again. There was this programme on the radio a few days ago. It was about Bannockburn. Again. We are being inundated with Bannockburny items here in Scotland. The big 700th celebrations start today. (Some of us are doing more important things, like getting the keys to the new house and all that. Although we are not as crazy as the person we are buying from, who is actually moving out, and in, on this weird day when nothing in Stirling will be normal.)

Anyway, people were reminiscing about the film premiere and meeting Mel Gibson, that kind of thing. I saw the film when it was new, but can’t remember when that was. Recall thinking it was a crap film. But these people said kind things about it, so I’m wondering if I could actually be wrong? Unlikely, but you never know.

The Wallace Monument has been – genuinely – called the Braveheart Monument. And I was reliably informed by the Grandmother yesterday that until recently there used to be a statue of Mel Gibson at the foot of it. How crazy can you get?

On the other hand, one should be pleased people have heard of something, even if it is the film, and not the real battle. Of Bannockburn. 700 years ago. Mel Gibson is looking good for his age.

Do I really want to watch the film again?

The Grand Budapest Hotel

It wasn’t at all what I’d imagined. I suppose I was simply a bit careless and thought it’d be a touching story about a hotel concierge. In the hotel, I mean.

And it was, but only up to a point. M. Gustave reminded me somewhat of a holiday manager I encountered more than once, but I believe M. Gustave was far kinder and had rather more finesse than Mr B.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The crazy plot about a hotel concierge who sleeps with all the female guests, but who is both kind and friendly towards his recently employed lobby boy, young, stateless Zero, ought not to work. But it does.

When an old customer dies, the two travel to her stately home to pay their respects. They end up stealing a valuable painting and escaping the long arm of the law. There are some sad deaths, and when M. Gustave ends up in jail, it falls to Zero to run the hotel, as well as get his lovely girlfriend to bake cakes with files in…

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Nice, light fun. No need to take it – too – seriously, and if you don’t, there is no need to be disappointed in the film. More big actor names than you can shake a stick at.

Temporal

There was more black humour in Temporal than was comfortable. I suppose it wasn’t meant to be a picnic, or even close to walking barefoot on the beach, as the call centre ladies dreamed about.

Times are bad, and we know they are very bad in Spain. Temporal was a day in the life of a small group of temps, and while it didn’t get worse, it certainly didn’t get better, either. Not much hope anywhere.

Temporal

If you try to complain you end up feeling grateful you are allowed to keep your job afterwards. In the call centre breaks were something the workers could only dream about, along with wanting a holiday in Varadero.

Temporal

The poor guy who sold – or tried to sell – vacuum cleaners could have been given a better script to work from. Very short shorts seemed to help Rosario/Jenifer in persuading passers-by to stop and talk to her about crisps.

This was a hard film to understand, or like. Why didn’t they stand up to their employer? Why did they let people walk all over them? Unemployment, and the wish to eat today. And tomorrow.

I truly hope I will not take pity on my cold callers in future. I still don’t want what they sell, nor can I afford it. I can see why the workers try to make a living out of this hopeless task. But why does someone want them to do it in the first place? There can be no money in it.

We could have done with finding out about poor Jenifer.

(At Cornerhouse on March 20th.)

A vinyl ¡Viva!

Once we’d got rid of the half dozen young men who were in the wrong cinema (they left to the acompaniment of much hilarity), the gala opening of the 2014 ¡Viva! at Cornerhouse went well. A brave woman made a speech in Spanish, and then the ¡Viva! head film-picker spoke (in English), before handing over to the director of Días de vinilo, Gabriel Nesci, who said a few words.

Gabriel explained his early fascination with vinyl records and he reckons his film began being written when he was twelve. He loves Britain and he has clearly been influenced by The Beatles as well as the low key retro, more introverted style of making films in the UK, as opposed to the flamboyant exuberance you tend to expect from Latin American films.

Días de vinilo

Días de vinilo follows the friendship of four young boys into adulthood. A couple of decades after they were inadvertently showered with LPs from an overhead window, they are trying to deal with being adults. One of them, Facundo, is marrying his girlfriend of ten years. The other three have relationships breaking up, and all are fairly useless around women. If they can pick the wrong woman, they will.

Damián is a screen writer (Gabriel’s alter ego?), Luciano DJs on radio and Marcelo has a Beatles tribute band, The Hitles, forever hoping to win tribute competitions that would bring him to the promised land that is Liverpool. Marcelo – as John Lennon – has a bit of a Yoko Ono complex, which is not helped when his telephone love Yenny proves to be more Japanese than Colombian.

Luciano is hopelessly in love with the singer Lila, who goes through men like there’s no tomorrow. And Damián is pursued all over town by exactly the right girl, except he doesn’t (want to) realise.

A little slow and un-Argentinian, this film could do with being watched again. I’m sure there are many nuances I missed the first time round. The actors do a great job, and apart from the glamorous looking cemetary salesman Facundo, they are genuinely ‘the boy next door.’

Días de vinilo

This is a comfortable film, rather than maniacally racy. Quitely funny instead of being a farce. Still quite Latin American, for all its quietness, since their British counterparts don’t talk or behave as openly as this. All You Need Is Love, as the Rolling Stones so famously sang (sic.)

Cornerhouse invited people round for drinks and music afterwards, and possibly even dancing. I didn’t stop to check.

And if anyone wants to know more, Gabriel Nesci will do a Q&A after the screening tomorrow afternoon, and if you miss that, the film is also shown on March 19th.