Thursday, 28 July 2011

Red State and Invisible Monsters - so much internet, so little time.

So much to do on the internet, never enough years. Anyone think that the concept of computer time needs to be updated to include web time? I wonder if Universities let you use it as an excuse for late work now? Can you go in with an apple and say that not only did the computer room not print your work cos the printer was backed up but on top of that but Tumbr said no?

I find I get so caught up in so many different things to research and watch and read and all that I tend to not finish most stuff, including writing for the blog, getting to know other bloggers or commenting on all the masses of good stuff out there. Spurred on my Custard's wonderfully intuitive list about being a better movie blogger over at we've decided to make an actual action plan :p

It's such a great post for people who know they've got crap habits or ignore certain blogging avenues but are not quite sure how to fix them. It reminded me we're planning on writing a post every other day, and deciding on which days to write what sort of stuff. His wisdom has also spurred me to think of moving over to Wordpress. Main reason being we're designing the sight this weekend and if I'm gonna sit down to make another blog when I don't have a designer bone in my body AND ditch my Oldboy banner for something that goes with white, I may as well try another site. Another other blogs people think are better than Wordpress?

In other news, Red State trailer looks interesting:

I like the look of the trailer, but all the fuss over Goodman losing weight kind of makes me zone out.
 And there's this event if anyone's in Los Angeles and enjoys Q&As' with Kevin Smith about the film.

And it looks like another one of Chuck Palahniuk's books might really go into production after years of people claiming they're *this close* to hiring a crew and placing pens into the hands of super famous actors as their lawyers finalise contracts. It's been a while since Ex-Drummer director Koen Mortier signed on to do Haunted, and news on Snuff and Survivor is vauge, but there's recent news on Invisible Monsters. Samir Rehem is on board to direct. If the name doesn't ring a bell, he's been hard at work on the american version of Skins, Degrassi, Made... teenage stuff like that.

My gut reaction was to hate this news. Invisible Monsters would be a hard book to get right and, whilst trying to say as little as possible that might spoilerise, it would require perfect casting of the female protagonist to be a great film. I always thought Charlize Theron, and that's all I'm saying.

The perfect director for Invisible Monsters in my mind would be someone with a dark and twisted career, not someone who does high school shows about cheerleaders and whatnot, and certainly not someone who worked on the remake of a teenage show that was then ripped apart for being rubbish compared to the original. I mean, I liked the UK Skins in the beginning, not least because (as I might have mentioned on here, ahem, once or twice) it made me a pretty big fan of Joe Dempsie who played Chris. The American version seemed to be too self conscious about whether it was the carbon copy or a unique and culturally fresh take on the same characters. These trailers aren't exactly representative of the storylines but a fun comparison:



[And for anyone else with a secret loyalty to UK Skins, another video mostly about good old Chris]

But he's not responsible for whether Skins UK is better than the US version is he? Apparently Mr Rehem is a big Palahniuk fan, and stylistically some of his work is excellent, and I'm being a total hypocrite by assuming something because of the type of stuff he directs not the quality of the directing, so I looked for some more stuff and particularly like this:

A short film produced by Robin Crumley of Capri Films. Shot on location in Toronto in December of 2006. Premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September of 2007.

And I'm an instant convert. I love the tone and cinematography, and the restraint, it made me smile. So maybe Invisible Monsters will be great.

Anyone else a fan of Invisible Monsters? Which director or cast have you always wanted for it? Or have you watched the American Skins and think it's so good Invisible Monsters is a step down?


Saturday, 9 July 2011

Heroes' Heroes. Kubrick Letter to Bergman

Was looking at Hollywood Elsewhere and found this, with original link given relating to Letter of Note website (it's literally too busy for me to give the link at the moment!) - the fanboy letter to Bergman sent during the period Kubrick was making Spartacus. How adorable. So even the Kubrick's find themselves going all gooey over someone they think is so awesome it's necessary to disclaim the letter by saying they know before they start that their hero won't give two shits about the praise they find bursting out of them. Warms the heart.

Full letter text:

Dear Mr. Bergman,
You have most certainly received enough acclaim and success throughout the world to make this note quite unnecessary. But for whatever it’s worth, I should like to add my praise and gratitude as a fellow director for the unearthly and brilliant contribution you have made to the world by your films (I have never been in Sweden and have therefore never had the pleasure of seeing your theater work). Your vision of life has moved me deeply, much more deeply than I have ever been moved by any films. I believe you are the greatest film-maker at work today. Beyond that, allow me to say you are unsurpassed by anyone in the creation of mood and atmosphere, the subtlety of performance, the avoidance of the obvious, the truthfullness and completeness of characterization. To this one must also add everything else that goes into the making of a film. I believe you are blessed with wonderfull actors. Max von Sydow and Ingrid Thulin live vividly in my memory, and there are many others in your acting company whose names escape me. I wish you and all of them the very best of luck, and I shall look forward with eagerness to each of your films.
Best Regards,
(Signed, ‘Stanley Kubrick’)
Stanley Kubrick                                                                                                                               "

Ah, how sweet. And delightfully flawed - I was momentarily shaking my head in dismay at Kubrick admitting he didn't know the names of the other actors he liked... until I remembered there was no IMDB in the '60s.

It's also uncannily appropriate - Bergman is one of those filmmakers I have somehow not gotten around to watching. I know, horrifying declaration, a confession you should only articulate to blissfully unaware sleeping children or to the body at a wake, and one that I know many people will think I should keep to myself. But there you have it - one part lack of personal excitement about any one film to 9 parts curious habit of foilment every time I have planned to sit down with Wild Strawberries or Persona or whatnot has led to a Bergman free existence. But last week I swore to watch at least two in the next fortnight. And here I am today not just reading about this letter but also now in love with this article about him:

Guardian article about Bergman week in Faro

So it's settled. But what film should I sit down with? One of the above, or the most most obvious, or something completely different? 

Friday, 8 July 2011

When your computer equipment starts owning you...

I just spent the last three days working through a bunch of external harddrives with between them about 4 terabytes of stuff and burning to disc anything I can and deleting anything we don't need as well as a mindboggling array of duplicates of stuff so that I got rid of about half of all of it. The bars on all the drives are no longer red.

Given I managed to finish regardless of my dreams of progress bars and starting out with a fresh batch of 120 discs and now only three remain unused, I felt this was an accomplishment. Until I decided to go check how the bookmarks are and realised that there's folders made by Ant for stuff I started doing on teh web but then got interrupted because we're sharing and he needed to take it off me, so he would just bookmark all the open tabs with a date name for me to check em later or the next day. And then that day I'd have a whole bunch of new things that needed researching and would start doing new things. Then get interrupted and hand it over to Ant and he would helpfully bookmark them all with that day's date as well.

And now there's a bookmark folder for practically everyday in the past two months. And in between them are bookmark names I've never seen and wouldn't have picked. Like 'Scribblescribblescribble'.

Since I'm a bookmark addict but not so organised with keywording tags, this might take some time. Where are the brain chips to hook up your thoughts to the machine so they'll organise themselves while you sleep?


Friday, 1 July 2011

First day back blogging, first day of a new year.

Finally a return to blogging. Hopefully a better, more efficient, more productive, more inspired and qualitative and creative year. Or that's my intention, and being that today is an anniversary I'm trying to start as I mean to go on.

The anniversary in question is the end of the first year of transplant. The so described crucial year, where they start to (knock on wood) let you travel outside the country, loosen up how often they see you and generally the medical people treat it as a line crossed, primarily based on the statistics that most problems (more wood knocking) happen in the first year. And I've had a pretty good year - I might complain about some of the adjustments and I might genuinely have found it really hard to get back to normal because muscle mass just isn't the same, but no huge problems. No giant shocking complications like an artery detaching from new organ and almost bleeding you out. No strokes from a sudden uncontrollable rise in blood pressure, no painful and delirium inducing organ rejection making the whole thing a waste of time.

Pretty good. Wholely different from the experience of this dude:

Pastor Marrion P'Udongo is, as the video indicates, a fixer in Congo who helps everyone he can, the video doesn't even slightly touch on how many lives he's saved directly and indirectly in his work. And now he's recovering from a kidney transplant and not having a good time (as the updates on the indiegogo fund explain). It sounds like he's probably feeling so sick he wouldn't be as chipper as he was in this video:

On the other hand, he's a pretty inspiring guy, maybe he's even more chipper. His transplant has only just started working and only barely, and the fund to pay for his medical bills is down to about $500 - if they get the kidney working properly, after that he needs to pay for the medications that'll keep it going in the future, and that stuff aint cheap.

Comparison time. To keep someone on dialysis in Britian costs about £40,000. It is more economically sound for someone to be a transplant patient. Most people who hear that would think duh, it probably doesn't cost anything - in fact it costs upwards of 20,000 mostly because of drugs. I'm on three different pills, that's pretty small and uncomplicated compared to other patients with continuing problems, mine just covers stopping my body recognising the new kidney as foreign flesh and brings down my high blood pressure. One of the pills I need, Prograf, costs over a grand each time I pick up a couple of boxes. Maybe a month's worth. The other immunosuppressant costs slightly more than that. The cocktail of drugs I had to take in the first three months probably cost a lot more. Like everyone else in Britain who doesn't get all those capsules and pressed powder pills for free, I pay my £7ish per prescription title, and that's that.

So when they say they need a lot more cash to save Pastor Marrion, I believe it. This guy saves lives, seems a shame to let him die because his hospital might stop treating him and he might not be able to get any blister packs of shiny capsules. 
Now, usually I wouldn't write something like this on the film blog. I wouldn't tell people what to do, or demand that they care about something that might be wholely unconnected to their interests. Nothing is more offputting than being told you should care about something else when everyone has difficult stuff to deal with. But the guy saves lives. In different parts of Congo. On purpose, continually, just because it's the right thing to do. And that's seems worth shouting about - if I ever even saved one life, it'll probably be by accident, and I'm sure many other people can say the same. I'm not half as good as this guy, and my transplant is going well. Doesn't seem fair.

In commemoration of the one year anniversary Ant has been linking to the fund to raise awareness. And being that he's my donor and he did save my life, and even though he could stop caring about kidney failure patients he takes the time to care about this when I am shamefully oblivious until he told me, I thought I should try to holla about it as well -

Here is a TIME article about the Pastor's work: A Fixer In Need
And the indiegogo fund page:   The-Pastor-Marrion-Fund

If you don't find this post annoyingly preachy and demanding, go take a look at his page and see if you can donate something to him! He might not have much time.

And back to our regularly scheduled programming - next week will be foreign movie week, including some actually, for real blog posts about films! :D
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