Sunday Movie Recommendation: Perfect Sense
Posted 2 Days Ago
We saw a film today that we really enjoyed. In fact, it moved us to tears. I wouldn't mention it - it's not a freebie - except that I looked it up, and apparently, the critics weren't impressed. Which shows bad taste on their part, and a lack of understanding of what a science fiction film really is.
Oh, and the film grossed about a thousand dollars in the U.S., and about the same in the U.K.
This film's a gem, though. It's 2011'a 'Perfect Sense', written by Kim Aakeson and starring Ewan MacGregor and Eva Green.
I can always tell a good film - it's one that has at least FOUR grant sponsors, like the Irish, Scottish, Danish, and Norwegian film boards. Now, the film's set in Glasgow, so our first reaction was to yell, 'Where are the subtitles?' But we settled down, as it was clear enough. Our next reaction was, 'This is set in GLASGOW. And he's a CHEF? Did we just hear somebody order haggis?' We got over it.
The movie's amazing. I won't say anything about the plot, other than the setup. The hero's a chef, the heroine's an epidemiologist, and all is going well until everybody in the world loses their sense of smell. It gets stranger after that.
This film does what science fiction is supposed to do: moves you on many levels, and makes your think hard about basic ideas. No, sicence fiction is not about space sihps, space food, and space guns fired by space babes. It's about ideas. And this film has a honey of an idea.
For something this low-budget, it's startlingly riveting to watch. Terrific pacing, too. If you can find it - it's on Netflix in the U.S. right now - please give it your attention. At just under 90 minutes, it's the perfect length,
If you do see it, let me know what you think.
Friday Freebie Film: The Dark of the Moon (Hillbilly Gothic)
Posted Last Week
Today's Friday Freebie Film: 'The Dark of the Moon', a spooky tale of love, madness, and hillbilly witches.
A few words about this turke...er, masterpiece: it was done back in the black-and-white TV days, when a lot of Broadway actors ended up on TV entertaining the masses. The plays were often quite good. This one, let all be warned, is not of that caliber. But it has an odd charm. Very odd.
The story appears to be based on an 'Appalachian folktale'. This folktale, obviously, was invented in an alternate universe known only to the writers. One in which witches are bubble-headed supernatural beings who age out into Smoky Mountain mist. But until then, the women are awful, and the men - to judge by Tom Tryon - are dishy.
Ah, Tom Tryon. Otherwise known as Thomas Tryon, author of the classic horror novel, 'The Other'. Watching this gives us a clue about why he changed professions - if he got much more of this dialogue, he'd have to realise he could write better.
A brief note on the 'dialect': one suspects the authors of this opus came from New York City. This accent is not found in nature - and 'conjure woman' is more Gullah than Appalachian.
Anyway, don't analyse too much. Just enjoy the mayhem and butchering of 'Barbara Allen'. A folklorist would scream, but it's all good fun. And ladies, the actor is shirtless for much of it.
Friday's Freebie Musical Discovery: Abe Burrows:
Posted 4 Weeks Ago
Today's musical discovery - because I've just stumbled across him, and I'm listening, and wiping the tears out of my eyes - is Mr Abe Burrows, aka Abram Solman Borowitz (1910-1985).
Burrows won a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize, but I don't think it was for these songs.
Nonetheless, I think you'll enjoy 'The Pansy in My Garden' and 'The Stationery Song', as well as the French parody that had me choking.
A little laughter at the piano, is all it is, but it's fun for young and old, no lie.
So thanks a million to the kind soul who copied his records onto the old interweb. Enjoy.
Freebie Scifi Humour Tip: Quark (the Other One)
Posted Jun 1, 2014
I've got a freebie treat for you scifi buffs, particularly if you like vintage stuff and a good laugh.
Back in 1977 - BEFORE 'Red Dwarf' and other (deliberately) churckle-worthy space romps, there was an unfortunately short-lived US TV series called 'Quark'.
Adam Quark and his team of misfits - the Bettys (clones), the Transmute (he veers from one gender cliche to another), and the Vegeton (Mr Ficus Panderata, and yes, he sounds just like Spock) - scour the galaxy. Literally. They are on garbage pick-up detail.
In between retrieving huge plastic bags of space trash, a la Stanley Kubrick, the team save the universe in their copious free time.
Yes, there's a Big Giant Head on a screen. Yes, the exchange operator has four arms. Yes, the robot is cowardly and depressive. But think about it: all they had to make fun of were Classic Star Trek, Flash Gordon, and the first 'Star Wars' episode. Give them a break.
It's pretty entertaining, and you can watch all eight episodes on Youtube.
Here's the first link:
Have fun, I say. And may the Source NOT be with you, because it's really useless.
My personal favourite: Ficus and Libida, the daughter of the evil Zorgon, doing it Vegeeton style. You cannot beat the line, 'And now, we wait for the bee...' There is such as thing as classic space opera humour, and it's here.
Thanks to the kind person who managed to dredge up this old show.
Summer Film Fun: Laugh with the Marxists
Posted May 26, 2014
Last night, Elektra and I watched the funniest film I've seen in months. We not only laughed, but we had 'aha' moments, and chanted, 'yesyesyes…' and fell in love with the star of this film. He's adorable. We want to write him fan mail. He's the greatest…
He's Slavoj Zizek, the delightful Slovenian thinker and author of 'Enjoy Your Symptoms'. And he's the star of the Sophie Fiennes movie, 'The Pervert's Guide to Ideology'. Here's the trailer:
When Dr Zizek holds up a Kinder Surprise egg and starts talking about Plato, you'll gasp with joy. And when he eats the chocolate, you'll chuckle. Watch him explain about the eroticism of the Catholic Church in connection to 'The Sound of Music'…
He's definitely distinctive as a performer. We stared in fascination as he set world records for touching his nose in a scene…and the shots of him in his socks…and his gorgeous cat…
Dr Zizek obviously has a hands-on approach to his subject. The director – yes, she's one of those Fiennes – inveigles the mad Yugoslav into all the great films. He's particularly impressive as Stalin getting out of a plane.
And then there's the iceberg scene from 'Titanic'… how could Kate Winslet bear to let him go?
The film's on Netflix in the States. I don't know where the rest of you are going to find it. But find it you should. It's definitely more fun than Marxist cultural critique is ever supposed to be.
And I'll love him forever for the statement that 'Christianity is much more atheist than the usual atheism..' If you'd like a little more on that insight, look here, courtesy of Open Culture:
Now, go find this movie. Pure popcorn delight.