Posted tagged ‘antbuoy’

Day 15 – The Film That Depicts Your Life

March 20, 2011

(500) Days of Summer

You must be getting sick of me mentioning this film but it rocks. I watched it whilst going through my own 500 Days and it did a better job than any film ever has of capturing what it feels like. The excitement, the soul destroying lows and the slow climb back up.


So many of the scenes in this film reflect moments in my life. The smart and sarky sister, the free spirited lover, the calm voice over, the dance routine. Well they happened in my head any way.

I reviewed this film here. It will cover my initial reaction to the film. But here we are several months on and like our man JGL I have moved on. About to start a new career in the theatre, no longer settling for mediocrity. That is what these women do to us, take us past our limits.

I still listen to the soundtrack and smile. I have become a champion of the film and made a lot of people watch it. I look forward to watching it in 10 years time and thinking about how important it was then and all the new things I’ll be thinking about then. So keep reading, who knows what will happen in 500 days.



Day 3 – A Film You Watch to Feel Good

March 8, 2011

Its gold, its gold, its solid gold bayb. No not the Spandau Ballet song that has been desecrated at every karaoke night since the dawn of time, but Austin Powers: Goldmember.

Groovy baby

I can hear you groaning from here. Knock it off. You may well say that that is the worst film since the dawn of time, its only redeeming quality being that Gold Member did not in fact sing that loathed Spandau Ballet song. But I say nay. Any film with a midget, a musical number, Beyonce in a bikini and Michael Caine cannot be bad.

In fact – it is a film I watch to feel good. It makes me smile. It is juvenile and silly and gratuitous. But it also came out before I knew the meaning of those words. Some people who have had conversations with me would say I still don’t. I had this film on video and within seconds it always made me smile.

And lets face it. Gweny looks hot in her hilarious opening scene. Pepper Potts should not be hotter than Black Widow. But I am throwing a cat amongst the pigeons and saying she does here. Let the catsuit battle commence.

When ladies wear catsuits, everybody wins.

Granted I haven’t watched this film in ages, I don’t have it on dvd, but I still think it would make me smile. It was a great spoof that became a fourth-wall-smashing-meta-pooning-behemoth.  And it made Michael Caine really happy.

That is pretty happy

What is your feel good film? What can take you from sobbing wildebeest to a regular human being and to the far side of becoming a howling beast again?


30 Day Film Challenge

March 6, 2011

Hello boys and girls,

Something special for you. A micro blog update every day for 30 days. Each day a new film reviewed and the story that goes with it. That is what I really love about films, not the stories that happen in them but the stories that happen around them. For me they are like photos of what you were doing with your life at the moment you saw them.

Give your comments, what would your film choice be for the daily topic? To hit it off I give you Day 1 – Your Favourite Film. My changes between a select few but today it had to be Fight Club.

Soap hasn't been this cool since Florence Nightingale

Coming out in 1999 this film still gets me with its wealth of ideas, fantastic pacing, excellent performances and a visual style that Fincher crafts out of shadows.

This is a very popular choice for men’s favourite film and for good reason. It whispers to some of our inner most desires. Looking at the need to fight, the feeling of inadequacy and ultimately the frustration with our day to day lives. The film visualise the aching anger in your chest that you couldn’t begin to describe.

The story is well known now. Ed Norton plays ‘Jack’. His character is never given a name, also seen in the excellent Withnail & I and not-quite-as-good-but-still-thoroughly-enjoyable Layer Cake. Brad Pitt plays Tyler Durden. The two men meet by happenstance and their lives keep getting drawn into each other’s in spite of the toll it takes on both of them.

The film spends a lot of time looking at big philosophical ideas. I didn’t care much when I was 15 and it was on tv. I ran out to get it on dvd that weekend. I felt I had become a part of project mayhem buying this 18 whilst massively underage. The guy who sold it to be didn’t care and was happy to be a part of our secret, and minute, anarchy.

And that is why this is my favourite film. It plays on our need to escape, to find something bigger than our relentless march into monotony. It is understood by your peers and offers you acceptance. I’d love to know what the equivalent is for women. Fight Club reminds you what a man can be and a glimpse at why he is controlled.


New stuff

September 5, 2010

What’s shaking kids? Miss me?

I’m back. Got lots of blogs coming for you. Covering shows I saw at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer and a lot of movies. Comic book geekiness and video games will also get a look in.

Been a busy beaver lately, worked on five big theatre projects since July and have neglected my poor blog.

No more!

Next year I plan to get a reviewer pass for the Fringe, and you dear reader are going to help me get it.

So buckle up, AntBuoy is back.

(500) more days of Summer

September 29, 2009

This is a bit unusual. Consider it a follow up blog entry to my previous review of (500) Days of Summer. Just highlighting some cool stuff I’ve found on the web to go with it.

Here is a video made by the director to accompany the film.

You can hear Zooey Deschanel’s band (She and Him) singing in it. Zooey Deschanel has come a long way from her part in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. She was ok in that film, and looked very cute, but she was largely overshadowed by Sam Rockwell. I love that guy, still need to see Moon. Anybody seen it?

This is a link to the soundtrack on Spotify. If you guys haven’t got Spotify, I highly recommened it. You can make your own playlists and stream music for free. Catch being they play adverts every 3/4 songs, but at least it’s legal.

Nifty. If you are really hungry for more, here you go.

Ha. Never thought I’d see that. Of course Joseph Gordon-Levitt has come a helluva long way since playing Tommy Solomon (the kid with long hair) in 3rd Rock From the Sun. That was a great show back in the day. It was very surreal and yet had a lot of classic sitcom pastiches.

Incoming message from the big giant head: new (proper) blog entry coming soon. I’ve been busy filming and writing stuff the last few days so have neglected my blogger duties. Sorry. An exciting review for the play The 39 Steps is on the way.


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Adventureland – Sticking the eyes on bananas

September 24, 2009

When did I start watching so many romantic comedies? (500) Days of Summer should have slated my thirst for indie rom-coms for months, yet here I am watching Adventureland. Adventureland is a sweet little film. Like (500) Days it deals with a twenty-something guy who is a hopeless romantic stuck in the ordinary world. Through their monotonous work the main character meets the girl of their dreams Em/Summer. Pretty, intelligent, deep and just a little damaged. Now our hero James/Tom can save her with his love. Looks like indie has gone mainstream.


But you’ll have to wait to hear more about the film. Just like I had too. I rolled up to Luton with the cinema in mind. I hadn’t checked times but was surprised to find they weren’t showing anything for the next two hours. Luckily they were showing Adventureland as the next film, I wasn’t about to stick around to watch Gamer. Now two hours isn’t the longest amount of time, but it can feel that way in Luton.

If you aren’t familiar with Luton, you are lucky. Spending time there is a difficult and thankless task. It has a large shopping centre and the usual high street full with shops you could exchange for anywhere else in England. What bothered me was how everyone there seemed to have given up. The air was full of defeat and anguish. The one hopeful character was a Chugger (charity + mugger) named Alan. Alan was working for the charity UNICEF, but he was having a hard time of it.

Alan stood out amongst the crowd because he was moving with a frantic energy that the sedate populace was lacking. He was also wearing an electric blue jacket. He quickly moved himself into my line of sight as I stalked Luton’s streets to kill time. I didn’t really want to talk to him, but I understand how difficult it is having that job. So I humoured the lad. Luton was not so kind.

Sensing that I was treating another human being as such, Luton set about to put an end to it. A truck drove down what I thought was a pedestrian area to try and hit poor Alan. Then it was a road-sweeper who sought to run the blighter down. By now I feared for his life. I made my excuses and left him to prey on the guilt of the next person who went by. He was a nice guy, trying to get people to listen to him. If you have a minute check out the UNICEF website and see what you can do.

unicef offical logo

So after two hours the film is about to start. Yippee. The cinema was dead and as a result you had far too many members of staff milling about with nothing to do. They all looked disinterested and dissatisfied. With a serge of zeal one member of the damned ran over to me to check my ticket. During the film a security guard, drunk on power, strutted into the theatre and let us all hear his walky talky go off several times. What a stud muffin he is.

Towards the end of the film our friendly neighbourhood bureaucracy enforcer returned to warn us not to have our feet on the chair in front. The cinema only had a dozen people in and yet four had their feet up. Myself included. But there is a catch. I had my feet resting one on top of the other in the gap between the chairs. No part of my shoe was in contact with the chair. I was too engrossed in the film to get into a debate on the topic but feel I should have mentioned it on my way out. He had run away by that point. Pansy.

Watching the film I had a funtastic time. That isn’t a typo, it’s a clever quote from the film. Now you can use it with your friends and seem really hip. Sure the film is set in 1987 making you some twenty years late to the party, but better late than never. Because the film is set in the late 80’s it is a great excuse to have an awesome soundtrack. Lou Reed is practically part of the cast with his face on posters, t-shirts and album covers. This proto-punk outlook is seen in James and Em. They are stuck in Pittsburgh when they have a more cosmopolitan view on life.


James is a very quiet rebel. Played capably by Jesse Eisenberg, James has just graduated university and looking for what to do next. That sounds very familiar to me. I’m going through the same thing at the minute. I don’t have a theme park near by but I imagine scrubbing dishes in a pub’s kitchen will be similarly depressing. The upside being that I might just meet a girl I’m crazy about.

Em (played by Kristen Stewart) is that girl for James. And I can see why. She is exactly the type of girl I was nuts about in high school. Pretty but didn’t know it. Angry but not militant. Desirable but distant. A few names spring to mind instantly. James can’t believe his luck when a girl like Em invites him to one of her parties. He does the miraculous and manages to not make an arse of himself. Too much. Their small romance feels very private and genuine. Jesse Eisenberg did not have to try very hard to look like he enjoyed kissing Kristen Stewart.

Like most young men, James frequently thinks about sex. This leads to some awkward erection jokes that shows that this film is from the director of Superbad. This is a much more sedate and mature affair though. Whilst Superbad was screwing around with your friends before college, this is about what you have to do to save yourself from becoming a screw up. None of the adult characters are adequate role models for the main characters.

From watching interviews with writer and director, Greg Mottola, I can tell this is very personal. His speech patterns are almost identical to James’s. It seems like we have a man with arrested development, still hanging onto that high school crush that messed his head up. I’m sure he had a lot of McJobs before he was taken seriously as a film maker. Sometimes you just have to stick the eyes on bananas.


Bill Hader provides excellent comic relief in this film that could otherwise tip into melodrama. He plays the crazy manager at Adventureland who has a very certain way of how he thinks the park should be run. None of these expectations bare much resemblance on reality. But that doesn’t matter for his smitten partner who thinks he is just wonderful. It is sweet and surreal.

The story of Adventureland is simple and the characters are routine, but in a nice way. It all feels everyday because that is what it is trying to be. This isn’t the doomed romance of Kristen Stewart’s much other big film this year. It is about life and how it has a way of screwing up. This film is not for everyone but I’d say it is capable of doing a couple of lengths in the pool. At its worst it is treading water, at its best it soars.


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The Dark Knight + Batman 3

September 22, 2009

I stuck on one of my favourite dvds the other day. The Dark Knight goes into my dvd player on a monthly basis. The film has to be one of the most enjoyable ever made. Not only does it have the brilliant Batman, we also get to see the finest depiction of his nemesis: The Joker. You’ve heard all this before. The film came out over a year ago and if you have any interest it in you’ve seen it ten times by now.

The Dark Knight can be viewed as an allegory for the age of terrorᵀᴹ. It highlights the debate between security and liberty. Is Batman right to spy on the whole populace to catch the Joker? Was he right to torture gangsters and crooks to gather evidence? Bruce never seems happy doing these things, eager to let Harvey Dent be the true hero and use due procedure. Is that good enough? Do the ends justify the means? These questions are left to the viewer to answer. Not something you will likely get from another blockbuster. *cough* Transformers *cough*

Not only does the Dark Knight provide a thought provoking story, it also kicks arse. The action set pieces feel fresh and look superb. Shying away from CGI for practical effects and models, the film looks as good today as when it came out. The scene on the ferries was so intense the first time I thought it. I really believed the boats would explode, something that could never happen in a Hollywood summer film. No matter what those criminals had done you couldn’t justify killing hundreds of them in cold blood. But Nolan made me belief he might. Sweet.

How do you top the scale of the Dark Knight for Batman 3? Joker terrorised with thirty million inhabitants, killed police commissioners and judges, destroyed Harvey Dent and almost cracked Batman. If you had Catwoman stealing an Egyptian cat statue from Gotham’s museum, it wouldn’t cut it. It needs to be a massive story without losing the characterisation that makes the Dark Knight such a watchable film.


The quickest way to do that is to bring back the Joker. It is clear that Nolan intended to bring back the Clown Prince of Crime in the final part of his trilogy. Heath Ledger’s untimely death may have scuppered this plan but I believe there are alternatives. Ledger did a terrific job, but the show must go on. An obvious replacement would be the very intense Daniel Day-Lewis. After seeing him in There Will Be Blood, I have no doubt he could play a psychopath convincingly. Another choice would be my favourite: Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He has worked with Ledger before and has similar flare. Gordon-Levitt has also just filmed Inception with Christopher Nolan which will help his chances.

Women. The one thing more interesting than films and superheroes. Not that I think of women as things… I’m just going to stop there. As much as I respect Nolan as a director, I do not think he is great at directing his actresses. I know from experience that it is difficult to direct women and he does the right thing by casting strong actresses. But women are a huge part of Batman’s ethos. They have to make an appearance in the next film, but which ones?

When most people think about women in Batman I bet the first one that springs to mind is Catwoman. She is iconic, sexy and anything but predictable. As I mentioned earlier, I fear that her flirting with Batman and stealing some artifacts would not make a film two hours long. Rumours have been going around and around about who has been cast as Catwoman, but Nolan has been quoted as saying we wouldn’t see her. He seemed pretty serious about there being no Robin, so I doubt we’ll see Catwoman in his films either.

Where there is the Joker, Harley Quinn is not far behind. She was created for Batman the animated series. The Joker’s former psychiatrist at Arkham was driven mad and became his sidekick. She is sort of stuck in the shadow of the Joker and I doubt would work as a stand alone villain. Harley is close friends with Poison Ivy but her supernatural abilities are likely to rule her out of the Nolan-verse Batman.

A woman I would like to meet is Talia al Ghul, daughter and heir of Ra’s al Ghul. In the comics, whilst Batman was training with Ra’s, he fell in love with Talia. This would be a great way for the third film to tie back into the first one. She is just as experienced as her father in martial arts and strategic planning. She is now motivated by revenge for her parent’s death, making her the perfect foil for the Dark Knight. Not only that, she will know Batman’s secret identity.


All that makes Talia a great choice of villain. Her involvement could force Batman to give up being Bruce Wayne to protect himself from assault in public by Talia. This issue is often touched upon in Batman lore. Is he Batman or Bruce Wayne? The pain of losing Rachel Dawes may be enough for him to bury Wayne. Talia’s reappearance and his mixed feelings towards her will not help matters.

The new Nolan films have been following some of Batman’s graphic novels fairly loosely. Batman Begins was inspired by Batman: Year One and the Dark Knight was inspired by The Long Halloween. The Long Halloween had a sequel called Dark Victory and could obviously serve as the basis for the next film. The problem is that Dark Victory covers the origin of Robin, this won’t happen in a Nolan/Bale film.

Dark Victory does look at how the three protagonists of the Dark Knight (Batman, Gordon and Dent) are now at odds with each other. Batman is an outlaw, Gordon has to hunt him and Dent is a crime boss called Two-Face. In the story Batman is really losing touch with his humanity, Robin acts as an anchor for him. This role could be transferred to Alfred/Lucius Fox.

What better way to capitalise on Batman’s vulnerability than by having him beaten by the super strong Bane. Don’t mistake him for a mindless idiot as he was portrayed in Batman & Robin. Bane is one of Batman’s smartest foes. In the Knightfall story Bane exhausts Batman before breaking his back. This would make a great set piece and send our hero to his darkest depths yet.

I’d like to see Talia and Bane working together. Maybe even dating. It wouldn’t be a great stretch to see Bane trained by Ra’s al Ghul before his death and chosen as a successor. In the comics Bruce was favoured by Ra’s as his successor but it would be interesting to see him replaced by the more savage Bane. I’d then add in an element from the graphic novel The Cult by having Batman brainwashed into killing someone. Whilst he is incapacitated Talia could use drugs and mind control to get Bruce back into the fold.

That’s my idea anyway, and something I could see Nolan using. Other big villains floating around the rumourmills are: The Penguin and The Riddler. The Penguin would make a nice bridge between the psychotic characters and the mob influence but isn’t big enough to fill a whole film. The Riddler (often rumoured as Johnny Depp) may seem like too much of a watered down Joker. I could see him brought in to try and solve the Hangman murders if they did choose to go with the Dark Victory storyline.


Interesting aside. Some people believe the character of Coleman Reese (the accountant who tries to blackmail Bruce Wayne) could become the Riddler. Mister Reese becomes mysteries. In the Dark Knight he says a little line that goes “what are you building for him now? A rocket ship?” A sly clue to a Justice League film and the Watchtower (orbital satellite) that Bruce finances.

So there you have it. I wish I was in a position to say what is coming next in the Batman films but sadly I am not. I think the Joker will be back in some capacity and that a member of the al Ghul family will come seeking revenge in a Die Hard 3 sort of way. I’d love to see a devilish Bane pursue the Batman as only he is capable of. Whatever happens, it is going to have a tough time living up to the high expectations set by The Dark Knight.

What are your thoughts? Which villains do you think we will see? Which storylines from the comics will be used? Leave your comments below.


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