Archive for the 'films' Category

Fraternal Greetings…

September 21st, 2006

… to my brother Michael’s new blog, Closely Watched DVDs, devoted to the world of Czech cinema.

Hurry over there now to learn the handy Czech phrase, “Tomorrow I’ll wake up and scald myself with tea”*, and do remember to go back every day in January, when he’ll be presenting his Jan Å vankmajer blog-retrospective.

[* The only Czech phrase I can really remember from the time I tried to learn the language is the equally handy, “I think there’s going to be a revolution in the West soon.”]

J. Arthur Rank, Not An Easy Name For Me To Pronounce

May 16th, 2006

Click over here for the British Film Institute’s Jonathan Ross-narrated interactive interwebnet feature thingy on the history of the Ealing Studios. This may have something to do with what my brother Michael has been working on recently, in the increasingly lengthy gaps between blogposts. I’m not quite sure.


April 27th, 2006

Virtual Stoa readers attending the Tribeca Film Festival (I’m sure there are thousands) may have seen me last night in a documentary about students at Oxford who spend their time boxing. I’m told that I featured in one shot saying that one of my students “said I could go and watch him get his face smashed in, but it was short notice and I was busy… I usually am…”. Anyway, the film’s over here, and I’m told it’s being shown again some time.

Brokeback Mountain, in Lego

February 23rd, 2006

Over here. [via]

That’s Odd

February 19th, 2006

The post I put up the other evening about how cowboys are frequently, though secretly, fond of each other has just disappeared from the blog. (Nothing like that has ever happened to me before, in almost five years on blogger.) Retrieving it from the google cache, I’ll reprint it below; the original comments box still seems to have survived over here.


Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly (Fond of Each Other): There’s a Brokeback Mountain-themed video for the excellent new Willie Nelson song over here.

It’s much better than the original film, not least through being well over two hours shorter.

Long-Legged Guitar-Pickin’ Man

February 10th, 2006

Three of us enjoyed Walk the Line last night. Lots of problems with the biopic genre, or so it seems to me, but I thought Joaquin Phoenix was astonishingly good in the title role .

(Maybe more later.)

UPDATE [11.2.2006]: I don’t think I’ll add much more, except to point out to people that when Cash first auditioned at Sun records, the song that grabbed Sam Phillips’ attention wasn’t “Folsom Prison Blues” but the rather different, “Hey, Porter”, which was his first single (with “Cry, Cry, Cr” as the B-side, not the A-side, as the film suggests)..

Whatever Love Means

December 29th, 2005

Anyone see the Charles-Camilla biopic last night? Was it any good? I’m assuming the answer is, “No, it wasn’t”, but since these things occasionally reach great heights of excellence, I thought it worth checking. (Though I forget whether it’s the film of Diana: Her True Story or of Princess in Love which is the real classic – the one where Prince Harry’s clearly American, etc. Probably the former. Yes, I think it must be.)

Films of the Year

December 13th, 2005

We’re dealing with books quite happily below. Now’s your chance to tell me whether there’ve been any good films this year that I’ve missed, as I don’t really read the film review pages any more. I enjoyed March of the Penguins last night, and am quite glad that I am not a penguin, but I’ve made very few trips to the cinema in 2005, despite living just around the corner from the only half-way decent cinema in Oxford. Downfall was probably the pick of the (small) bunch, with a remarkable performance from the Swiss chap playing Hitler.


September 22nd, 2005

My brother Michael will be on Radio Three’s Night Waves tonight at 9.30pm talking about a Russian film that everyone’s talking about, apparently. Tune in, and help to treble the usual audience for late-night worthy talk-radio arts programming.

Overseas viewers — you can get it on the web for the next week or so.

He’s trying to persuade me to listen by telling me that the previous item will have something to do with Rousseau. I’m persuaded.

Giant Caspian Oil Pipeline Opens

May 25th, 2005

Over here. Now is this the same as the one in that most excellent of recent James Bond films The World Is Not Enough, or is it a different one?

Holiday Viewing

January 1st, 2005

I finally got around to seeing Clint Eastwood’s film, The Outlaw Josey Wales the other evening, and wasn’t terribly impressed. Partly, I think, I didn’t much like it because it was so heavily indebted to another film I don’t much like, John Ford’s The Searchers, as it piles on reference after reference and parallel after parallel, saving the most blatant for last, when the distinctive shapes of Monument Valley make an appearance in the background of one of the final shots. But I was interested enough to see if the internetweb had much to say about this kind of thing, and dug up this (solid but ungripping) 2003 essay on the subject by Robert C. Sickels, which kicks off with the remarkable claim that “what virtually every critic has failed to recognize is its [= TOJW‘s] undeniable relationship to John Ford’s The Searchers…” That can’t be true, can it? Film writers surely haven’t been that blinkered? Or is Sickels just exaggerating a bit to get his own essay off the ground? I know there are (i) film buffs and (ii) Western enthusiasts who read this page, so any information posted in the Comments will be cheerily digested.

Talk Like A Pirate

September 8th, 2004

Seeing Dodgeball last night (fun film, fun film) reminded me to remind you all that 19 September is International Talk Like A Pirate Day, so get practicing.

I’m told that the advertising slogan for Dodgeball in the US is “Grab Life By The Ball”, and that the UK slogan adds the letter “S” to make the last word into “Balls”. This is entertaining, if true.

Those who want to practice T-ing like a P might want to ask themselves what letter comes before “S” in the alphabet, saying it loudly in a preposterous voice.