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Archive for the Category "Film"

Taking Liberties Nov 19

Thank you to Lord Bonkers for drawing my name from his hat and thereby selecting me as one of the winners of a copy of the Taking Liberties DVD. And thank you to Jonathan Calder for running the competition.

I didn’t get to see the film at the cinema, so I’m looking forward to it!

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The best British horror film of them all? Aug 29

Jonathan at Liberal England has been blogging valiantly throughout the summer about the BBC’s Summer of British Film season. This week the genre is horror films, kicked off at the weekend with an excellent documentary on BBC Two. In addition to the films mentioned in Jonathan’s post, selected cinemas put on limited showing of what is arguably the best British horror film of them all: The Wicker Man. So Mr Nimbos and I pottered along to the Trocadero last night to watch it.

A tale of pagan worship, sexual repression and a missing child, it’s a dark film, but not without its share of light touches: Edward Woodward’s Sergeant Howie, dumfounded as the denizens of the Green Man Inn spontaneously sing about the buxom daughter of the landlord; Christopher Lee in a dress; a schoolteacher explaining the symbolism of the maypole. Woodward’s portrayal of the pious Howie faced with temptation and debauchery is a masterpiece – although that doesn’t stop Lee stealing scenes when he appears. There is satire of religion generally and of Christianity in particular, as Howie is challenged to explain why his faith is more well-founded than the islanders’. The climax, the swaying and contrapuntal song counterpointing the shocking action, is both bleak and unpleasantly upbeat, leaving entirely unresolved the question of whether the islanders’ beliefs turn out to be correct – a definitively British finale.

For fans of The League of Gentlemen (the TV series, not the film), there are some very recognisable moments. Oh, and Britt Ekland prances around naked. Did I forget to mention that?

Catch-up May 22

Bit of stream of consciousness listy catchup.

  • Enjoyed Eurovision. Went to a fun bash in Lewisham. Not too keen on the winning song but the outcomes were mostly fair despite the predictability (due to shared cultural backgrounds of different countries, natch) of some of the voting.
  • Busy busy busy last week. Helped Andrew set up running blog here. Sponsor him online.
  • Sprained my ankle. Grr.
  • On Thursday, I was shooting video at a LibDem reception for IDAHO day. You can see some of Stephen Williams’ remarks on YouTube here.
  • A day off on Friday – yay! Waited in for cable repair man. Had a slot somewhere between 8am and 1pm – he turned up after 2pm. Lucky I took the whole day off… Finally have cable again, but reckon the guy who came around a week earlier could have fixed it.
  • Followed the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill debate on BBC Parliament (Freeview) while I waited. A shameful Bill pushed through mostly by Labour MPs (including many on the payroll vote), although introduced by a Tory. New online campaign against it at:
  • With cable back, caught up on The Apprentice.
  • Also with cable back, and therefore broadband restored, got slightly addicted to online Scrabble. My username is whouk if you fancy a game.
  • Went to see Magicians and John Shuttleworth on Saturday, both of which I enjoyed although wasn’t bowled over by either. My brother texted to warn me not to see 28 Weeks Later.
  • Have been spending too much on eBay.
  • Followed a very nice birthday lunch on Sunday with more online scrabble, this week’s Doctor Who (fairly good) and gentle trip to Sam Smiths pub.
  • Sad about Cutty Sark. Contribute to the restoration here.
  • WordPress 2.2 is out. Will upgrade soon.
The Lives of Others Apr 17

Went to see the Oscar-winning film The Lives of Others the other night and was very impressed. It’s a film about the Stasi, the East German secret police, and a cautionary tale to anyone who believes in a surveillance society and a “If you’ve got nothing to hide” attitude. Having not studied mid-20th century history, the story of East Germany is still one I’m not hugely familiar with, so the story, about a Stasi agent who becomes obsessed with one investigation, was an eye-opener.

The lead, Ulrich Mühe, reminded me of Kevin Spacey in Se7en. I agree with Bernard’s review (which I also recommend), including his reflection that the end is a little on the long side but worth it. Go and see it now.