Archive for the 'movies' Category

Macbeth

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013 | Posted in movies, Popular/Culture

Stars, hide your fires!
Let not light see my black and deep desires.
(1.4)

I try to watch Shakespeare plays whenever I get the opportunity, which isn’t as often as I’d like. When I saw the ad for this production of The Scottish Play, starring the lovely James McAvoy, I knew I needed to see it. I was gutted to have missed out on Patrick Stewart’s rendition of the same play (though I did manage to see him all bare-chested in The Tempest), so I got really excited about this opportunity to see McAvoy on stage again (saw him in Three Days of Rain a few years ago).

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
(4.1)

That said, I ummed and ahhed about tickets, debating with myself about ticket prices and whether to go without my friend who couldn’t justify the expense. So then it got sold out. Shit. Started looking on gumtree and eBay, but missed out on a gumtree deal when my hotmail account went on strike for a couple days. Then the crazy prices started appearing on eBay, £100+ per ticket. Even I couldn’t really justify that. Kept an eye out still, and was rewarded for my perseverance. I managed to find a couple of 5th row seats for £85 each, snapped them up, then sold one on eBay for £150! Naughty, I know. I sold the spare to a lovely girl from Belgium, she was coming here for the weekend and was hellbent on seeing the play. I met her at the theatre just before to give her her ticket.

It will have blood; they say, blood will have blood.
(3.4)

Macbeth axe choke-holdSo anyway, the play itself was marvellous. This production was set in a dystopian future where everything was filthy and discoloured. Blood everywhere. Banquo first appears with blood all over his face, and it was still there later when he greets the king in the castle (me wondering, when will he wash his bloody face). Despite my distaste for bloody faces, it was a good visual foreshadowing of his murder later in the play.

I also found it interesting that the witches pronunciation of ‘fair’ in their chant ‘fair is foul and foul is fair’ made it sound more like ‘fear’, a subtle but powerful change which for me really brought that theme to life in the rest of the play. It was fear that led Macbeth to betray his friend Banquo once he’d murdered the kind king for his crown, and fear that fed his tyranny.

Those he commands move only in command,
Nothing in love.
(5.2)

I studied Macbeth for my GCSE English way back in my youth, and I’d watched the bonkers Polanski movie and another theatre production of the play last year, but I’d never before really appreciated the sense of conflict between the Scottish and the English that runs through the play. Even an amusing gesture, such as a servant spitting as she mentions the English, helps to makes this a prominent theme of The Scottish Play. The future dystopian setting of the play also brought to my mind a consideration of the recent Scottish moves towards independence from the UK, and where this could lead if unchecked. The play also brings to mind all those dictatorships of recent history and the current time.

McAvoy himself was as splendid as ever. At times he portrayed Macbeth as a force of nature, a creature whose physicality had him bounding around the stage from his entrance in which he slid on his knees across the stage floor to halt just before a lucky audience member, to his dramatic downward slide down a high ladder. His character was also very physical with his lessers, slamming servants into walls and using his axe to intimidate others. The only thing that I didn’t really like about his performance was the tremulous vocal tone which he used in his soliloquies. Plus all the unnecessary spitting, but I didn’t mind all the manly chest beating.

Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe topful
Of direst cruelty!
(1.5)

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

I’ve heard that a lot of critics didn’t like Claire Foy’s version of Lady Macbeth, but I really liked her in that role. There was also a great deal of chemistry between her and McAvoy, and you could really imagine them as a couple in love and in grief. They made much of the hint of their miscarried baby, with Macbeth caressing her stomach at every opportunity, leading you to wonder whether their grief was a key element in their murderous intentions. The horrifying conclusion to this line of thought was the appalling moment when Macbeth finds Macduff’s hidden child and murders him. A woman in the audience hid her face in her hands as Macbeth peers into the the boy’s hiding place before pushing his sword into the child.

Methought I heard a voice cry “Sleep no more!
Macbeth does murder sleep
(2.2)

All in all it was a great play, and I’m so glad that I went to see it. I’m hoping to see Othello starring Adrian Lester at the National Theatre soon.

Prince of Persia

Sunday, December 13th, 2009 | Posted in Eye Candy, movies

I’ve never played the Prince of Persia game, but the forthcoming movie looks pretty good. I always like a good action movie, and Jake Gyllenhaal is looking quite formidable.

Funnily enough, a guy that I used to know a few years ago told me that he was in the running to play the title role in this movie, but I’m quite sure that he was just trying to impress me.

Vampires in Heat

Thursday, November 26th, 2009 | Posted in fun, movies

Wish I’d seen this version at the cinema instead. Hilarious.

New Moon

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009 | Posted in movies

It’s been impossible not to know that New Moon was going to be released last Friday. As well as the usual ads on the TV and on the sides of buses, we also had themed magazine editions with free pull out posters, re-released tie-in versions of the books and other shameless promotions that I can’t remember at this moment.

Since the Harry Potter franchise is coming to an end, it’s lucky for us all that another series of novels has captured the hearts (and purses) of numerous young girls (and plenty of women too).

I’ve read Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse, and will probably read the fourth one out of curiosity at some point. I saw the Twilight movie last year and didn’t think much of it, but it was basically watchable. I decided to see New Moon because I was curious about whether they could turn that depressing book into a halfway decent film.

My local cinema had 2 screenings of the movie at 4pm in different screens, and luckily most of the girls who’d come straight from school in their uniform seemed to have been allocated to the other screen. My screen seemed to have a good mixture of teens, guys in their late teens/early 20s, a few mums with their daughters, and couples on dates…

On balance, I’d probably say that New Moon was slightly better than Twilight, but only because there was less Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and more shirtless, meaty Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). Plus if you manage to stay awake until the end, you’ll be treated to a delightful yet all-too-brief scene featuring Michael Sheen and Dakota Fanning.

I don’t want to spoil the plot too much (if that’s possible), but it stayed quite close to the novel. After a troubling incident, Edward dumps Bella. She falls into a deep depression for months and months, until she starts to spend time with Jacob. She also starts a disturbing habit of engaging in risky behaviour (riding motorbikes, jumping off cliffs) after she experiences hallucinations of Edward warning her not to risk her life during those stupid moments.

Then we discover that Jacob has become a werewolf, which sucks for Bella since his entire focus is not on her any more. Luckily, these werewolves only kill vampires, and they wear magic shorts which don’t require disrobing before the metamorphosis. But who cares about magic shorts when we can focus on Taylor Lautner’s torso?

Even though the guy must be at least 10 years younger than me, I still couldn’t stop myself grinning everytime I saw him shortless shirtless, and it was clear that plenty of girls watching alongside me were loving the view too. It was a great distraction from the dodgy plot, dialogue and pacing.

The only problem with all that meatiness on show, was that when Edward appeared again at the end of the movie, he seemed especially pale, gaunt and lifeless in comparison.

There were several cheesy moments in the movie, but the cheesiest for me was when we saw Alice’s vision of Bella as a vampire in the future. I couldn’t help giggling as I watched her running in slow-mo through a forest in a floral dress alongside Edward.

However, I enjoyed the musical background, which complimented the emotional scenes. I also liked those high wide shots, which gave a sense of scale to the forests in which much of the movie was set. Though the wolves looked quite unrealistic to me, I did like the scene where they were chasing Victoria, a redhead vampire who wanted Bella dead, through the forests. I also liked Charlie, Bella’s dad, who always comes across in a believable way. The fight scenes weren’t too bad either.

Overall though, my advice would be to give this one a miss.

Urban Recluse Rating: ★★½☆☆

Further Reading:

For a much snarkier review of New Moon, check out Dustin’s hilarious review on Pajiba.

Also check out SamuraiFrog’s weekly summaries of Twilight (the first novel).

LOVingFiLM

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009 | Posted in movies

Finally a list of films that I can engage with: LoveFilm’s 101 Most Rented

It’s an interesting list, as it features many films that people actually choose to see, the usual list of films recommended by the critics. There are some very good films on the list, alongside some dodgy ones (Music & Lyrics, PS I Love You).

I’ve seen 72 so far, which I’ve marked in bold. I’ve starred the remaining ones that I’d like to see (most of which are in my rental queue already). How many of them have you seen?

  1. The Last King Of Scotland
  2. Little Miss Sunshine
  3. Atonement
  4. Casino Royale [2006]
  5. Deja Vu*
  6. The Pursuit Of Happyness* (caught the end at a friend’s house, but that doesn’t count)
  7. The Departed
  8. Hot Fuzz
  9. Blood Diamond
  10. American Gangster
  11. Children Of Men
  12. Crash [2005]
  13. The Bourne Ultimatum
  14. The Devil Wears Prada
  15. Run, Fat Boy, Run
  16. The Constant Gardener
  17. The Holiday
  18. The Queen*
  19. Die Hard 4.0
  20. Walk The Line
  21. Knocked Up
  22. Inside Man
  23. Million Dollar Baby
  24. I Am Legend
  25. The Prestige
  26. Pan’s Labyrinth
  27. Stardust
  28. The Da Vinci Code
  29. The Island
  30. Hotel Rwanda*
  31. Brokeback Mountain
  32. Borat
  33. Batman Begins
  34. Next
  35. No Country For Old Men* (saw bits of it last Christmas)
  36. Night At The Museum
  37. Mr. And Mrs. Smith (2005)
  38. Michael Clayton
  39. Notes On A Scandal
  40. Finding Neverland*
  41. Babel* (I have it but haven’t felt in the mood for it yet)
  42. The Illusionist
  43. Memoirs Of A Geisha
  44. The Bourne Supremacy
  45. Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End
  46. Wedding Crashers
  47. Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
  48. Ratatouille
  49. Lucky Number Slevin
  50. The Golden Compass
  51. A History Of Violence
  52. National Treasure
  53. Apocalypto
  54. Miss Potter
  55. Ocean’s Thirteen
  56. Syriana*
  57. The Lives Of Others
  58. Sin City
  59. Stranger Than Fiction*
  60. Transformers
  61. The Interpreter
  62. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
  63. The Aviator
  64. Spider-Man 3
  65. Mission: Impossible 3
  66. Wallace And Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit*
  67. Munich
  68. Flight Plan*
  69. Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe*
  70. War Of The Worlds [2005]
  71. Hitch
  72. 300
  73. Collateral
  74. The Kingdom*
  75. 28 Weeks Later*
  76. V For Vendetta
  77. Cloverfield
  78. Shooter*
  79. Closer
  80. Man On Fire*
  81. This Is England
  82. The Good Shepherd [2006]
  83. Shrek The Third
  84. The History Boys
  85. The BreakUp
  86. Meet The Fockers
  87. Ocean’s Twelve
  88. King Kong [2005]
  89. Layer Cake
  90. P.S. I Love You
  91. The Terminal*
  92. Superman Returns
  93. Music And Lyrics (only because it was the only film shown on a flight I was on)
  94. The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford*
  95. The Simpsons Movie*
  96. The Incredibles
  97. Volver*
  98. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street*
  99. Fracture*
  100. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory [2005]*
  101. Iron Man