Transcalar Investment Vehicles and Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD

So, at last year’s London Film Festival, I went to see some experimental short films and Transcalar Investment Vehicles was one of them, but unfortunately the version of the film they had at the festival wasn’t the correct final version. Anyway, the LFF peeps said they’d show the right one at a later date and that there would be free tickets for the people who had turned up for this showing.

The rescheduled showing of Transcalar Investment Vehicles was last week. I… don’t know if the right version of the film conveyed Koob-Sassen’s ideas more effectively than the wrong version but then I guess experimental cinema isn’t something that I’m particularly into or have a lot of experience watching. I’m more of a regular narrative film viewer, I guess. Saying that, I did enjoy the experience and I think that sticking around for the Q & A afterwards was really worthwhile, not least because people who actually “get” this style of film were making interesting comments and asking questions and maybe the discussion part of the evening was more enjoyable than the actual film? It’s hard to tell.

MY POINT, THOUGH (I have one, I swear), is that in the film there is a financier character, whose scheme is to channel investment made in fossil and nuclear energy industries into some kind of north African solar panel development in the wake of oil tanker and nuclear plant disasters. We meet the financier mostly while he’s explaining what this scheme involves to an American political speechwriter (played awesomely by Chipo Chung who I hadn’t really heard of before seeing this but I really enjoyed her performance*). In the course of the post-film discussion, Koob-Sassen talked about how the financier in this story was a “heroic financier” – something I hadn’t considered at all. I mean, at the moment, when you think about anyone involved in the financial services industry, they are pretty much always coloured as the bad guys – thanks to all the economic problems of the last few years. Then in the course of his discussion with the speechwriter, you kind of get the idea that the stuff he’s talking about is a bit out there and has the potential to be very bad – based on the reaction expressions of the speechwriter (who of course has to spin the topic to her audience in a favourable way later). The financier seems to have a grasp of and solutions for things on a large-scale but at the same time, seems kind of unaware of the effects of his solutions on smaller, person-to-person levels.

If I understood the finance stuff better, maybe I would see how the financier is heroic better too.

ON THE OTHER HAND, it got me thinking about the various hero and villain stories that make up nearly all the superhero films, comics and TV shows that I seem to be watching non-stop at the moment. The thing that often comes up is the idea that the villain is the hero of his own story. From the POV of the villain in the story, he is the hero. MOSTLY it makes me think about Ward from Agents of SHIELD. Ward is a TERRIBLE person. TERRIBLE. Yet he continues to act like nothing he is doing is wrong (he’s been murdering and betraying people ALL OVER THE SHOP).

And then that makes me think about the character of Skye and, totally unrelated to the stuff I’ve been talking about so far, how the character is mixed race (Chinese & White) and how AWESOME this is because I’ve pretty much seen…. no one like me on TV. I suppose Keanu Reeves in 47 Ronin SORT OF counts if you grasp at straws a bit. SKYE. FOREVER AWESOME.

* Looking on IMDB it turns out that she has been in like… all the things ever that I loved. She was Chantho in Doctor Who. She was the voice of the ship, Icarus, in one of my FAVOURITE FILMS EVER – Sunshine.

London Film Festival 2014 – Part 1

It seems like every year I’ve gone to LFF I don’t actually really talk about it until weeks and weeks later. Such is life. Luckily I keep my Letterboxd account updated and that helps me to remember. I think the only thing I’m hazy on are a few of the shorts that I saw. Onwards. There’s going to be spoilers (probably). There’s… going to be more than one part to this report on LFF.

Continue reading “London Film Festival 2014 – Part 1”

Weird Dreams and Old Clothes

This morning I dreamt that I bought roast duck, flew with a jet pack over London, got on the Tube, spotted Captain America in a restaurant and got a bit lost but eventually turned towards Wembley Stadium because obvs that’s a good landmark to head towards.

Not quite sure how I could see Wembley from central London (which was…. on fire from an alien invasion?).

I’ve been having a lot of wacky vivid dreams.

Also this morning, my Mum tried on all the clothes that we cleared out of my wardrobe as “things that Rachel has grown out of”.

She’s now going to wear my old Phonogram shirt to her line dancing class and has a new range of spooky/creepy t-shirts for it too. ūüėÄ

Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Meet the Filmmakers

I went to this last Friday. It was awesome. Anthony Mackie & Sebastian Stan are a FANTASTIC double act.

Video under the cut. Well. Unless you’re viewing this on dreamwidth or livejournal and then you’re going to have to come to my actual blog. Possibly.

Continue reading “Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Meet the Filmmakers”

London Film Festival 2013

Earlier this month was the 57th London Film Festival. Last year I managed to see about 12 films across 7 different days, with 2 random empty days in the beginning and 3 gigs and a meeting with my university tutor in the middle. I also had a tax rebate to spend on all of that. This year… no tax rebate. So only 8 films and no gigs. I did manage to meet up with a few friends though, which was cool.

The Films:

  1. Jodorowsky’s Dune
    This one was deliiiiightful. Apart from the bit where Jodorowsky says something along the lines of “I was raping Dune. With love.” The rest though, yeah, delightful. I had no idea that the team behind Alien kind of all met each other due to this and that was pretty cool. Also the circumstances under which Jodorowsky gathered together all the people he was going to work with was entirely amazing.
  2. Under the Skin
    This was kind of weird. Entirely enjoyable, but weird. Also, I couldn’t quite believe that so many men would just get into a strange woman’s van…but then I guess, I always come at that scenario with the genders reversed and I would never get into a strange man’s van. I don’t think many women would.
  3. Pioneer
    I really know nothing about the whole drilling for oil in the North Sea thing or how that came about orrrr any of that. I didn’t really need to though. This was really exciting. The ¬†underwater scenes were awesome and the conspiracy thing remained interesting throughout.
  4. Trap Street
    I think that maybe this film could have been more exciting or gone in a slightly more sci-fi dystopic direction, but that would have meant that it wouldn’t have really kept the sort of mundane realism that goes with it talking about a real world phenomenon.
  5. Love Will Conquer All
    This was a short film selection, where all the films had the theme of love in some way.

    1. Orbit Ever After – Set in space. I did start wondering about how the rest of society operated in this universe.
    2. Full Time – This was pretty sad.
    3. The Phone Call – I think this was pretty much the best of all the shorts.
    4. Kick-Heart – Interesting, but probably the one I least enjoyed.
    5. Pieces – You can kind of figure out what went on to the characters pretty early on, but that doesn’t make it less watchable.
    6. Auschwitz on My Mind¬†– Actually, this was the one I least enjoyed. I just…didn’t care what the kids did.
    7. Out of Darkness –¬†I really liked this. Seeing/hearing the same words but from different viewpoints really made me think.
    8. Night of the Foxes – Spent most of this waiting for a tragic turn that didn’t happen.
  6. The Zero Theorem
    This was really good although it ended kind of abruptly – or at least, it felt that it did for me and there wasn’t really a conclusion. Maybe that was the point though.
  7. Locke
    I will admit to watching this entirely because I am a fan of Tom Hardy’s work and figured that even though this is a film where there’s just the one guy in a car for the entire film, it was worth a look. Or at least, it’d be something to try at least once. Locke turned out to be really good and while Hardy’s performance is excellent, I think that the co-stars (who we never see and only hear) really made the film compelling.
  8. Only Lovers Left Alive
    I…really had no idea what this film was about other than Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston being vampires. It was really funny! ¬†Like. REALLY FUNNY. Which I had no idea that it would be because I was pretty much sold on “vampires” (although that really let me down on last years Kiss of the Damned). I liked that this film took the approach of considering that vampires can essentially be immortal and how the lack of time constraints can affect relationships and how that might play out. We sort of come in to seeing Swinton and Hiddleston’s characters as in a long-established relationship – and there’s none of the beginning of relationship or end of relationship drama that many films that address love and relationships might go for, which was refreshing.

Star Trek into Feelings

I went there. Sorry. I have a lot of Star Trek into Darkness feels. A lot of them. I’ve basically spewed them over the comments of two different livejournal entries on my friends page, so I figure I might as well collate them somewhat. It’s got to be a list, really. A disjointed list. With spoilers.

I really do get a bit overwhelmed with feels, but only to the extent of all-caps, rather than keysmashing. I’m finding that the further away I get from my viewing of the film, the more problems I spot.

Continue reading “Star Trek into Feelings”

Blood

Blood posterAnother film I saw at last year’s London Film Festival. Which was in October. And I last wrote about a film I saw then in… January. SO IT GOES. I made no promises. Once again, something of a list and bear in mind this is a film that I saw once nearly 6 months ago (saying that though, I saw it 6 months ago and it made enough of an impression that I’m writing about it now).

  • When I sat down in the cinema to see this film, I admit, I couldn’t remember what the hell I was seeing. It was a film called “Blood” – that much I knew from the ticket. Other than that? Not a clue.¬†Blood¬†is the kind of title that could mean anything, though in this case I think it refers to the familial relationships within the film. In the Q&A with the director Nick Murphy after the film, he described it as like a Greek tragedy and I’d agree that it has that kind of scale and timelessness. The fact that this is a drama involving policemen is pretty much secondary to the relationships between the characters and their reactions to events.
  • The character development and the relationship development is well-paced. As it should be.
  • To digress a bit, you know how in Romeo and Juliet, there’s that moment in Act 3, Scene 1 where it’s all a bit “HOLY COW” and everything changes? The impact of that varies from production to production and depends, I suspect, a bit on how familiar you are with the play. I’m guessing that if you know a bit about this film, but not necessarily all the detail and maybe not this point (even though it’s probably the pivotal moment in the film)…uh. Lost track there. MY POINT, now that I’ve got here, is that¬†Blood¬†has a moment where I could hear the entire audience kind of think “Holy S***” – it’s got that kind of impact. Which I really liked.
  • MARK STRONG. Ok. This film has a lot of really good actors in it. A lot of them and all really good, who have done other work that I’ve really enjoyed. Paul Bettany gives the best performance that I’ve seen him give in like….anything I’ve seen him in (in fact, this pretty much confirms that I would want him to play John Constantine in a Hellblazer film). MARK STRONG THOUGH. I LOVE MARK STRONG. Well. Maybe not love him per se, but his work. My favourite thing is when he plays a normal person rather than an out-and-out villainous character (like in…Sherlock Holmes and…stuff…he’s good at it, but y’know). I think that sometimes it’s easy to forget that Strong can absolutely kill as a not-villain. Well, not¬†literally¬†;).If this was a romantic comedy, I might have swooned. As it isn’t, I only swooned a bit at his character’s competence. That and that one scene where he’s wearing a shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Sorry. I have a pulse and he’s Mark Strong.
  • What else? Well, last year I saw a heck of a lot of films, but out of the films that came out in 2012, that I saw,¬†Blood¬†was the most awesome. You can see my list here.¬†Blood¬†beat¬†Red Tails,¬†Avengers Assemble,¬†The Hobbit,¬†Dredd,¬†Argo and…lots of other really good films (also, obvs, the not so good ones but whatevs). I gave it 4.5 stars out of 5 (I don’t really rate many things 5 out of 5) and my end of year thoughts were as follows:

    Yes, technically this film is released next year. I don’t care. In fact, this film is so good, I’ll probably go see again next year and put it high up on next year’s ratings too. The cast in this film is astounding. I love Mark Strong. I love Paul Bettany. They are both spot-on in this film (“spot-on” has pretty much become my go-to end of year saying). The relationships between the characters are rightly at the heart of this film and that’s what makes it so good. Forget that it’s a police drama. Forget the totally amazing HOLY COW moment. How the brothers related to each other and their father. How they related to their colleagues. Everything. Best film.

  • Mark Strong and Paul Bettany, man. JUST LOOK AT THEM. Continue reading “Blood”

Review: The Prince

The Prince
The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had been expecting something more dry and boring. The Prince was a far quicker read than I thought it would be. Machiavelli doesn’t bother with flowery terms or dragging out his points.

It’ll be good to see how it compares to Erasmus’ The Education of a Christian Prince

View all my reviews