almostwitty: (evil)

When I was a young teenager growing up, drinking was seen as something cool for all teenagers to do. And, let’s face it, drinking is relatively easy. Even I managed to have a few drinks during my teenage years in an attempt to look vaguely cool.

So when Emma Watson (aged 21) spends three minutes on David Letterman talking about alcohol before finally confessing that she only got drunk once, you do have to wonder just how isolated/isolating the Harry Potter stars were, when at least two of them can’t do what British teenagers have been doing for years up and down the land – get drunk, and then carry on the next day.

I also wonder how that played in bi-alcohol America – where people either drink till they punch people in the face, or stay away from that demon drink. Alcohol does seem more integrated into the British way of life, but with notable exceptions, they tend to moderate it.

Mind you, I’ve started drinking a bottle of beer a day, and a tiny part of my mind is a tad worried I’m going to end up being a mild alcoholic.

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A generically dull, predictable, historically inaccurate but worthy English heritage film about a noble man who overcomes troubles to defeat his enemy wins the Oscar for Best Film? Best Director? Really? THIS is what the Oscar voters deem to be the best film made and shown in America in the last year?

You know what this means?

Every darned British film producer is going to spend the next five to ten years trying to make me-too films about fellow noble Royals who, despite seeming to have everything in the world, have to overcome a secret problem to achieve their objective. After Chariots of Fires, we had to put up with endless English heritage films. After Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (the last major British film success), we had to put up with endless English gangsta films set in South London.

More dull British films that harken back to England’s glorious past, as opposed to trying to look to Britain’s present and future. A boon for heritage production designers, but bad news for anyone who wants to look forward, not backwards.

Thank Gawd the baby means I’ll probably be avoiding cinema for the next five years.

btw, I once popped into Colin Firth’s wife’s eco-friendly shop in Chiswick. The shop assistants there were unbelievably snooty.

(Ob. disclaimer: I haven’t seen this film. Or, indeed, any of the nominated films this year. I’m blaming it on the baby)

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One of the things I love is finding out the minutiae, the inside notes behind a great production. I have actually listened to DVD commentaries, and one of my favourite books is Russell T Davies’ The Writer’s Tale – it’s like reading his blog while he was writing and producing Doctor Who.

Oddly, no similar book has been written about that other great sci-fi franchise, Star Trek. At least, until Michael Piller wrote a book about the writing of the last Next Generation Star Trek film, Insurrection – but the book never saw the light of day. Now, thanks to the Internet, it’s available if you’re willing to go against the wishes of Piller’s family.

As you can imagine, there’s been a bit of analysis over the book, which most people will find deathly dull, but I found endlessly fascinating.

Thanks to foomandoonian for the tip-off!

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to be an extra in a film alongside Keanu Reeves. Although it’s unlikely that you’ll actually *be* next to him, of course – unless you’re extremely lucky in the way that I ended up next to Ewan McGregor in a 1990s film shoot…

Anyway, here are the details of what’s wanted:

From: laura@castingcollective.co.uk

Hi

Can you help us find ORIENTAL MEN & WOMEN age between 16 & 90 for a major new feature film starring Keanu Reeves that will be filming in London between April & June 2011?

We are looking for lots of ORIENTAL MEN & WOMEN age between 16 & 90.

If you are of an Oriental ethnic background and already on our database, PLEASE DO NOT come to the open casting as we have already suggested you for this film.

We are hoping you can help by passing this information on to any Oriental friends/family who might like to take part and come along to the casting in the New Year. If you don’t know anyone suitable, please delete this email.

If you are ORIENTAL, not already on our database and unable to make the casting in January, please apply online instead @ http://www.castingcollective.co.uk/oriental and I can contact you with information of future castings for this film.

If you are NOT of Oriental ethnicity, please don’t come to the casting as we wont be able to see & you will be turned away.

WANTED – ORIENTAL MEN & WOMEN TO BE EXTRAS IN A MAJOR NEW FEATURE FILM
STARRING KEANU REEVES FILMING IN THE UK BETWEEN APRIL TO JULY 2011

WARRIOR PRODUCTIONS ARE LOOKING FOR ORIENTAL MEN & WOMEN AGE 16 TO 90

INTERESTED?
PLEASE COME TO OUR OPEN CASTING ANYTIME BETWEEN 10AM TO 6PM
ON SATURDAY 8 JANUARY 2011
AT
THE BOURGOGNE SUITE, HOTEL NOVOTEL LONDON WEST, 1 SHORTLANDS, HAMMERSMITH, LONDON W6 8DR

OR YOU CAN ALSO APPLY ONLINE

http://www.castingcollective.co.uk/oriental

& WE CAN EMAIL YOU ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

WE NEED LOTS OF YOUNG MEN IN PARTICULAR TO BE SOLDIERS SO ANYONE ORIENTAL WITH MARTIAL ARTS, HORSERIDING, ARCHERY, SWORD’S SKILLS ARE PARTICULARLY WELCOME. WE WILL ALSO NEED LOTS OF MEN & WOMEN ASWELL SO EVERYONE CAN APPLY.

IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO ATTEND THE CASTING OR CAN’T APPLY ONLINE, YOU CAN EMAIL laura@castingcollective.co.uk A RECENT PICTURE & ALL YOUR CONTACT DETAILS THEN WE CAN CONTACT YOU DIRECTLY WITH DETAILS OF FUTURE CASTINGS FOR THE FILM. OFFICE TELEPHONE NUMBER 020 8962 0099

PLEASE BRING YOUR PASSPORT, WORK PERMIT/VISA & NI NUMBER TO THE CASTING – WE HAVE TO PROVE YOU CAN LEGALLY WORK IN THE UK

WARRIOR PRODUCTIONS LTD
GOOD RATES OF PAY

Many thanks for your help.

Laura@CC

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almostwitty: (evil)

It doesn’t happen very often these days but occasionally, I’ll be stuck for an evening inside some kind of video editing setup, trying to edit a series of rushes into a vaguely coherent video. Personally, the last thing I’d want to have are those rushes to start speaking back to me.

But that’s what used to happen on the set of Quentin Tarantino’s films – where the cast and crew would be encouraged to occasionally say “Hi Sally!” to Tarantino’s long-time editor Sally Menke, who sadly died this week. It’s creepy watching characters break off from a scene to essentially wave to the people behind the camera.

It’s bad enough when you leave alone a video game character you’re playing, and then he/she slowly turns to look at you as if to say “What now, dude?”. Personally, I find that highly spooky and it happened to me once on Enter The Matrix. I haven’t played the game since.

Or is that just me?

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The ideal living room - Cinephilia

The ideal living room - Cinephilia

Ob. disclaimer – I was invited via Qype to a night at Cinephilia West, a film cafe/bar/screening room in Westbourne Grove. My review of the place follows:

If you like food, or cinema, this is DEFINITELY the place for you.

First off, it’s a learned cinema fan’s paradise. The basement is the ideal living room, stuffed full with cinematic books and DVDs for sale, and at the end a huge screen where they hold evening screenings. It’s a fantastically chilled out place from where to watch your favourite obscure film (Brazil). They hold screenings of curated films once a week, and it sounds like a fantastic way to broaden your film knowledge.

The ground floor holds film exhibitions, and a very very good selection of film magazines that you can just pick up and read. Plus there’s wi-fi if you want to work on your killer screenplay.

Alongside all this is a cafe, but not just any cafe. The sangria is gorgeous, and the cakes are oozing with seductive delights.

If I had one complaint about this place, it’s that it’s obviously not for your average-going Odeon mainstream person who prefers Doctor Doolittle to Doctor Parnassus. And the price for food heaven is a bit high …

But for years I have often lamented the lack of film-centric places in West London. Now there is one, and I can’t see how it could get better. (well, unless they held screenings of Doctor Who)

Check out my review of cinephilia – I am almostwitty – on Qype

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Hell, it might well be the best film ever…

If you’re in the UK, you can now watch Terry Gilliam’s superlative Brazil online till Sunday.

It’s the film of a story that 1984 tried to tell, but adds a huge dollop of black humour, fantasy, and terrorism to the mix. Definitely a must see.

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When my sisters and I were growing up (younger than ten), we were somewhat discouraged from consuming Western pop culture, ie music and films, by our parents. (Can’t you tell?) Thus, while my schoolfriends were (perhaps) reading Smash Hits et. al., we were listening to Cantopop and comedy films from Hong Kong, procured at great expense and effort from Chinese shops in Liverpool.

One of the tapes we used to constantly listen to on those long drives to Liverpool were albums by Sam Hui, who along with his brothers also used to make knock-about comedy capers like Security Unlimited. They were simple, but had catchy tunes and comedy routines – in the back of my head, I can probably still recall the Security Unlimited way of learning how to drive. Think of a working class Nolan Sisters branching into Carry On films, with no innuendo.

Then we got a radio, I discovered how to control the television set, and I threw myself into UK pop culture (Smash Hits! Neneh Cherry! Doctor Who!) while my parents wondered where exactly they had gone wrong.

Fast-forward 25 years, and a chance Googling reveals that American casinos are so keen to get Chinese gamblers coming in, they book Sam Hui to perform at Las Vegas, and casinos in Connecticut have Chinese-language websites where lots of Asian pop stars perform, for the cash. I’ve seen casinos put up Chinese-language signs in London and Manchester to compel Chinese gamblers to come in, but this takes it to a whole new level.

As for that Security Unlimited – the film my sisters and I must have watched hundreds of times on repeat on a dodgy VHS – is now on YouTube, and also available via Amazon.com video-on-demand. Technology, eh?

Now if only I could speak Chinese.

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You may have seen a musical clip from the frankly genius idea of Silence of the Lambs: The Musical set to Lego:

Anyway, it turns out the musical is coming to London mid-January! Who’s with me? We can all wear night-vision goggles and adopt cod-Virginian accents! (or surgical masks and cod-posh-Welsh accents)…

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You may have seen a musical clip from the frankly genius idea of Silence of the Lambs: The Musical set to Lego:

Anyway, it turns out the musical is coming to London mid-January! Who’s with me? We can all wear night-vision goggles and adopt cod-Virginian accents! (or surgical masks and cod-posh-Welsh accents)…

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I’ve often thought that if you’re going to go to the bother of remaking a film or a song, you should at least do it a bit differently. Like the Pet Shop Boys doing Always On My Mind, or … the Pet Shop Boys doing Where The Streets Have No Name.

Anyway, we now have the new trailer for The Karate Kid, starring Jackie Chan and Will Smith’s son Jaden Smith.

Spoilers - read the rest of this entry on almostwitty.com ...

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I’ve often thought that if you’re going to go to the bother of remaking a film or a song, you should at least do it a bit differently. Like the Pet Shop Boys doing Always On My Mind, or … the Pet Shop Boys doing Where The Streets Have No Name.

Anyway, we now have the new trailer for The Karate Kid, starring Jackie Chan and Will Smith’s son Jaden Smith.

Read the rest of this entry »

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So… they’re trampling over my childhood by re-making The Karate Kid. Only this time, Jackie Chan gets to mentor Will Smith’s son. Which instinctively seems a bit odd for no apparent reason.

Fortunately, Jeff Yang’s fascinating article on how martial arts was popularised in the US by black people seems to actually make sense. Although I’m not sure Jackie Chan will be anywhere near as charming as Pat Morita.

Still, maybe its’ reappearance will finally mean that when I start muttering “You, beginner luck!” under my breath, people might actually get the reference. Certainly, references to The Karate Kid were aplenty during my time in that ill-fated British-Chinese comedy sketch group

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Lucina Dickey (and Jean Claude van Damne) in a scene from Breakin'

Lucina Dickey (and Jean Claude van Damne) in a scene from Breakin'

Believe it or not, when I was a tender 10-year-old boy growing up in a small seaside resort in mid Wales, I developed a temporary crush for the purple-dressed lady who steps in from the right. A crush I am still at a loss to explain to this day.

The scene is from that seminal street movie Breakin’ (the first movie all about Breakdancing) and the actress is Lucinda Dickey. Lovely lady though I’m sure she is, I can’t figure out why I had a crush on her. There were/are a huge number of “glam American” movies extolling the delights of living in a fantasy street-savvy America, so why she turned my tender young head/heart, I have no idea. And she’s not my usual type. Although she is cute. Fortunately, she’s still retained her looks today.

Thanks to the futuristic technology of YouTube, you can also watch the entire film online – or just the trailer, which has enough Lucinda Dickey goodness.

So who was your first crush?

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Lucina Dickey (and Jean Claude van Damne) in a scene from Breakin'

Lucina Dickey (and Jean Claude van Damne) in a scene from Breakin'

Believe it or not, when I was a tender 10-year-old boy growing up in a small seaside resort in mid Wales, I developed a temporary crush for the purple-dressed lady who steps in from the right. A crush I am still at a loss to explain to this day.

The scene is from that seminal street movie Breakin’ (the first movie all about Breakdancing) and the actress is Lucinda Dickey. Lovely lady though I’m sure she is, I can’t figure out why I had a crush on her. There were/are a huge number of “glam American” movies extolling the delights of living in a fantasy street-savvy America, so why she turned my tender young head/heart, I have no idea. And she’s not my usual type. Although she is cute. Fortunately, she’s still retained her looks today.

Thanks to the futuristic technology of YouTube, you can also watch the entire film online – or just the trailer, which has enough Lucinda Dickey goodness.

Mirrored from almost witty.

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BBC Films co-produces a film about the life of Charles Darwin. Starring Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connolly, it looks at how Darwin’s theory on the Origin of Species impacts on his personal life, and his relationship with his religious wife.

So, a scientist battling between religion and evolution. What’s so bad about that?

Well, the film can’t be released in the United States because it can’t find a distributor. Even though it’s found one everywhere else.

I’m fairly sure there’s a Biblical quote somewhere about looking at other viewpoints and having an open mind…

Mirrored from almost witty.

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BBC Films co-produces a film about the life of Charles Darwin. Starring Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connolly, it looks at how Darwin’s theory on the Origin of Species impacts on his personal life, and his relationship with his religious wife.

So, a scientist battling between religion and evolution. What’s so bad about that?

Well, the film can’t be released in the United States because it can’t find a distributor. Even though it’s found one everywhere else.

I’m fairly sure there’s a Biblical quote somewhere about looking at other viewpoints and having an open mind…

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The 1990s were a confusing time if you were a bloke trying to figure out how to be a bloke. The choices seemed to boil down to being the waspy, sensitive “New Man” (aka today’s emo) “New Man” stereotype pastiche, or the “Lager Lout” (out all night in pubs, drinking strong beer and starting brawls in nightclubs) stereotype? (I’m sure the advertising industry has, as ever, much sexier phrases for these stereotypes).

Patrick Swayze, bless him, seemed to prove that you could dance, love, and even cry, while simultaneously being able to knock seven shades of crap out of bad people and even indulge in a spot of bromance with an FBI agent. Quite a huge range for an actor who never even went to acting school. He even looked alarmingly good for a man of 50 in Keeping Mum. And he even managed to stay married to the SAME WOMAN for 30+ years or so.

So the fact he’s succumbed to cancer, which is one of the most vile diseases sapping all life energy out of its sufferers in a long slow death, is, to say the least, quite sad.

He was a terrible singer though. Even if I do somehow love this song – and any song that can survive a wonderful mashup with the Pet Shop Boys’ Minimal has got to be a great song despite anything you can throw at it…

and it’s not just me. Particularly interesting thoughts come via the usually snarky The Onion AV Club and Overthinking It

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The 1990s were a confusing time if you were a bloke trying to figure out how to be a bloke. The choices seemed to boil down to being the waspy, sensitive “New Man” (aka today’s emo) “New Man” stereotype pastiche, or the “Lager Lout” (out all night in pubs, drinking strong beer and starting brawls in nightclubs) stereotype? (I’m sure the advertising industry has, as ever, much sexier phrases for these stereotypes).

Patrick Swayze, bless him, seemed to prove that you could dance, love, and even cry, while simultaneously being able to knock seven shades of crap out of bad people and even indulge in a spot of bromance with an FBI agent. Quite a huge range for an actor who never even went to acting school. He even looked alarmingly good for a man of 50 in Keeping Mum. And he even managed to stay married to the SAME WOMAN for 30+ years or so.

So the fact he’s succumbed to cancer, which is one of the most vile diseases sapping all life energy out of its sufferers in a long slow death, is, to say the least, quite sad.

He was a terrible singer though. Even if I do somehow love this song – and any song that can survive a wonderful mashup with the Pet Shop Boys’ Minimal has got to be a great song despite anything you can throw at it…

and it’s not just me. Particularly interesting thoughts come via the usually snarky The Onion AV Club and Overthinking It

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In an era where fanfic writers think nothing of plonking the Red Dwarf crew on the Starship Enterprise, or the cast of Spaced in the TARDIS, it shouldn’t really come as that much of a surprise when professional media creators do the same thing.

Thus today, where we discover that Richard Curtis (famed romantic comedy writer behind Love Actually, Four Weddings, Blackadder and the superb and under-rated The Tall Guy) is writing a script for Doctor Who. This has met with a little consternation.

Of course, their fear comes from the possibility that romance might rear its ugly head in Doctor Who. It should, of course, be pointed out that:
- Richard Curtis, for all his faults, is a master at creating characters you like. Albeit middle-class English ones, of various hues and abilities.
- Pretty much all of Steven Moffat’s celebrated scripts for Doctor Who have had huge dollops of romance in them. Doctor Who fans and Hugo Award adjudicators have lapped them up in their droves.

The news that the Pet Shop Boys have written a song for Shirley Bassey’s new album also sent my geek fandom radar into overdrive. The Pet Shop Boys write fantastic songs – but let’s face it, Shirley Bassey’s got a much more powerful voice that deserves to be used.

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