May 18th, 2012

Have You Scene?… Thor



As the Avenger’s continue to use their super-hero abilities to absorb the rest of the world’s economy, this week I’ll save you the repeat visit to the cinema and suggest you just watch some super-hero action at home.

The turning point in the new marvel franchise, and for many the point when they sat up and realised that Marvel, Joss Whedon and S.H.I.E.L.D could all be on to something.

Thor follows relative newcomer (unless you’re a Home and Away fan) Chris Hemsworth as he battles his way through multiple pantheons and plains as no less than the Norse God of Thunder himself.

Along for the ride is the main source of mischief his brother, and Lord of chaos Loki. Played with charmed demonic demeanour by Tom Hiddleston. In further sudo-Shakespeare like tradition our noble cast include our wise aged king played by Anthony Hopkins, and Natalie Portman taking on the duties of our distressed damsel.

All the now familiar super-hero trimmings are set round the table, against an impressive display of digital Norse mythological wonder.

The action and special effects are as thunderous as you’d hope, yet you can’t help wishing to sneak a bit more of tour round Asgard. But then you’ve got to save something for the sequel.

Self confessed movie nerd Hiddleston compared his co-star Hemswroth’s performance as Thor to that of the late Christopher Reeve’s Superman.

Pointing out that the Aussie actor manages two things in his roll as the thunder-man.  “…he can wear a big red cape without a shred of self-consciousness. But he’s also funny as hell”.

I’d say that goes for the rest of the movie as well. Big red capes all round.

May 13th, 2012

Have You Scene?…Where The Wild Things Are.



Remember when all you needed to cure anything, was a plaster? Essentially that’s what Where the Wild Things Are is about.

Based on the celebrated cultish kid’s classic written by Maurice Sendak when you were certainly too young for it back in 1963.

Following the lead of Sendak’s original bookish material, things remain fairly little on plot and large on imagination.

Occasionally spiralling wildly to conjure it’s own notions, mostly Spike Jonze uses a number of other imaginative elements to try and maintain attention spans.

The wild things themselves are as childishly awe-inspiring as you could hope for.  Over sized bundles of bright-eyes, fur, snotty noses, and curious physics. Much of this is down to the handiwork of the legendary Jim Hensen team, matched with just the right amount of digital trickery.

The dialogue between our main man Max and his beastly buddies provides moments of the brilliant backward logic. Utilising the talents of the big kids cast in an oddly unique way.

A tremendous tumbling soundtrack provided by Karen O, should even keep the scene kids happy.

The larger themes are quite obviously there, but tend to work best when you don’t stop to over think them.

Not a children’s movie in many of the conventional senses. There are monsters, but certainly no princesses or charming princes.

There’s no candy coloured scenery or animated blue birds in sight. A movie that tugs and pulls at the parts of your imagination that were raw like scraped knees. That were bruised and dusty on dry days and mud splattered on teary-eyed wet ones.

In that sense, it isn’t a movie for everyone. But then anyone who doesn’t want to get their feet wet, or is going to want more than a plaster to make them feel better should just stay at home anyway.


Maurice Sendak. 1928 -2012


May 4th, 2012

You’ve Never Scene Star Wars?

“You’ve never seen Star Wars?!”

It’s on par with conversations about God or 4am discussions about the meaning of life. As social situations go it has the possibility to turn into one of all time most awkward scenarios at any party.

I say ‘party’ allowing for the fact, that my imagination and I occupy a very select area of fantasy-land where real people stand around discussing science fiction, and who has or hasn’t seen Star Wars at social get-togethers.

Truth be told I’m well aware I don’t attend many social events that feature ‘real’ people prominently (or at least prominently enough that they can’t be shunned into a minority and safely jettisoned to the corner).

So perhaps I could be accused of a little narrow mindedness in this case. But Devil may care; we all know the dark side has more fun.

At the tender age of eleven, through some now forgotten twist of events I ended up at a showing of the re-release of The Empire Strikes Back.

From that fateful moment my heart and head belonged to a galaxy far, far away.

While the Avengers are running riotous around the box office and the rest of the big-budget-comic-coloured-quasi-sci-fi-big-kids movies are revving up their hyper drives this will always remain the movie that started it all for me.

John William’s score, comic-book spin offs, and the art of Ralph McQuarrie were an introduction to a universe that has never since slowed or stopped expanding.

Through thick (Jar Jar Binks) and thin (most of the rest of the prequels) I’ve watched and re-watched these movies, and particularly Empire more than probably any other in my life.

Which when I stop to think about it, is probably just as well. It helps make up for all the parties I’m not getting invited to. 

April 27th, 2012

Have You Scene?… One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.


You might have heard some big things about One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. Things like; ‘the greatest movie of all time.’ Or that it won more Oscars than Billy Crystal has stolen and hidden in his attic.

But in ways this isn’t a big movie. There’s certainly no Michael Bay inspiring explosions. There are no sharks and no sign of Stephen Spielberg in the credits. Though one friend who I recently watched it with, and many others have compared it to The ShawShank Redemption. At no point does Morgan Freeman deliver any monologues. In fact for anybody who is still uncertain Morgan Freeman isn’t even in the movie.

What the movie does feature however are defining performances from Jack Nicolson and nearly every single other member of the cast. Big, small, strong, silent, stuttering or otherwise.

Played to a brilliantly crafted script with a narrative that is liberating, honest, cruel, funny and mad all at once.

All the while between the lines of dialogue and text, you can read hints of what it is that makes a movie, or a person ‘big’ in the first place. Lines about the differences between ‘just plain nuts’,  ‘just mad enough to try’, or just-who-the-hell’s-to-say-anyway.

A testament to belief; how it can make you big, how it can make you small. How it can cage you up, or how it can help you grow wings.

April 20th, 2012

Have You Scene?… The Goonies.

A lot of people will tell you you’ve got to watch The Goonies.

They’ll rave about some raw early day Spielberg craftsmanship. That it’s essential 80’s cinema.

They’ll tell you tales of their own early-day formative experiences. So chucked filled with nostalgia and Saturday morning cartoon-coloured-cereal your vision will start to blur at the thoughts of it.

While I’m sure, in some fractured sugar glazed way all of this is true the only real reason you need to watch this movie is because it’s an awful lot of fun.

Crammed full of pirates, gangsters, hidden grottos, gold, and gadgets. Frankly if you don’t come away from it wanting to be more like a Goony I don’t want to know you.

April 1st, 2012

Have You Scene?… Hedwig and the Angry Inch

A storyline that could only have come straight from a Broadway musical.

Somewhere between a night out in Berlin with a young David Bowie, and a night in watching the Rocky Horror Picture show with a young Tina Turner.

A movie where the killer one-liners are only topped by the killer boots.

All that glitter and sequence however are stitched together with a remarkable level of care and attention. Enough to connect truly emotive moments with moments of glam-rock ridiculousness at it’s best.

Not afraid to laugh at itself or the absurdity of any of the many facetted topics and themes it glosses over.

A movie that sings from the heart and couldn’t care less If the audience throw tomatoes. It all just makes for a good salad after the show.

March 23rd, 2012

Have You Scene?… Benny and Joon

Above and beyond most things as a movie Benny and Joon is just tremendously likeable.

And while this isn’t the kind of personified movie persona that’s going to get you an invite to the Oscars it takes a real cynic to condemn it. It’s the kind of movie that just wants to help.

Depp delivers an astonishing performance in a roll heavily referenced and brightly inspired by the silent movie magic of Buster Keatonand Charlie Chaplin. Accompanied by a cast who do well juggling alongside him the varied light-hearted miss-hap adventures and the flushes of milder drama.

Through a technically little bumbling at points it is a movie that rolls alone with a true artistic spirit at heart. Something that is not always easy to capture.

I’m also not ashamed to tell you, that thanks to this movie I still make cheese toasties with the iron from time to time. And really that’s better than any Oscar nomination any day.

March 19th, 2012

Have You Scene?…Alice In Wonderland

Quite sometime before Tim Burton got around to it, the imaginers over at Disney got their brightest boldest brushes out to paint what has probably become the most widely recognised rendition of Lewis Carroll’s famous work.

The inevitably whacky adventures of our innocent intrepid Alice have gone on inspiring ever since.

Inspiring quite what however, we’ve never been sure. But not to worry, as the cat will be sure to warn you, it’s easier just to accept we’re all mad here.

So on a weekend of national, and personalised card company celebration, who doesn’t want an excuse for another good tea party?


March 10th, 2012

Have You Scene?…Kony 2012

A few short days ago you had never heard the name Joseph Kony before.

You had no idea who he was, or why you should care.

Neither did I.

And because I am human, I didn’t really care.

Neither did you – perhaps you still don’t.

But the fact remains that we went to sleep not knowing, and not caring and woke a brief few hours later to a few million people shouting about it.

Any rational person would agree that that is something you should probably pay some attention to.

That is also why this week my regular pop-culture slinging, would-be trendy movie review is being replaced by something else.

I’m not suggesting anybody needs to start diverting money by direct debit, or needs to book the next flight out to a Uganda airport (though I’d certainly not stop you if you did). I’m not going to wave photos of malnourished children in your face and call you a capitalist like it’s a bad thing. I am as much of a squishy, over feed typically lazy western white person as any of you reading this.

I am simply standing squarely upon the very small soup box I, like many of you have chosen to give myself and telling you “here is what I believe”.

As it happens what I believe doesn’t actually differ a whole bunch from the suggestion I make every week in this space.

You need to watch this movie

If you don’t agree with it, good - at least you’ve thought about it.

If you think it’s a bad idea, that’ it’s poorly executed and wrung with pretence then good, at least you’ve formulated an opinion and gone someway toward educated yourself a little but.

It is not perfect.

To start with in my opinion it is too long.

Beside this however of course it’s makers and the organisation who created it have problems. After all it is run by floundering, faulted humans who make mistakes.

As the accused rational human being I have thus far presumed you are, you’re perfectly entitled to feel a little disgruntled when a charity who’s become an over night world phenomenon appears to have been a little lax about taking the time to do the books quite right. 

I’d agree that you’re right to be sceptical; but I would suggest that you remember scepticism and cynicism are too very different things.

When looked at in the perceptive of even one person’s life most of the criticised elements of this campaign and its makers, are all rather small petty things.

I would hope most of you rational, well meant, kind-hearted people who aren’t found of mass murder would agree there is something wrong about a person like Joseph Koney being invisible.

There is something wrong with somebody being able to carry out the kind of evil he has without the world even knowing it.

There is something wrong when most of the planet has never seen his face or even heard his name.

There is something wrong when he could simply stroll down any street, in any town, in any so called civilised nation in the world and go unnoticed.

There is a school of thought that says all it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.

Dreamer and warm-hearted well-wisher that I am, I know clicking ‘like’ on your friend’s Facebook status isn’t going to cancel world debt.

Twitter isn’t going to cure aids and it certainly isn’t going to find Joseph Koney. But if it can tell the world who Joseph Koney is, then perhaps that’s a start.

If it can plaster his face on people’s television screens and laptops and mobile phones, if it can bring him into our sitting rooms and place a great big neon sign over his head reading “the enemy” then maybe that’s something.

You’d have to agree it’s certainly better than nothing.

This movie isn’t about the best way to change the world, or who is doing it right or wrong. This movie is about educating yourself and making a choice. You can criticise it and you will find fault, I am as certain of that as anybody.

Or you can choose to look at what it has already done and see what it has the potential to do.

A few days ago you didn’t know and you didn’t care.  Neither did I. Then you woke up and suddenly you had a choice to make - you either care or you don’t. Either way things aren’t invisible any longer.

To summerise things a lot more neatly and more rhythmically than I can;

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot. Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

 - Dr. Seuss.



March 2nd, 2012

Have You Scene?… The Way.

“You should travel more”. It’s one of those catch-all statements that can suggest anything from a person’s mild mannered opinion that you simply “don’t get out enough” to the implication that you border on the supremely ignorant.

Either way I think it’s usually good food for thought.

Unfortunately, it also tends to be one of the things most likely to be put to the end of the long arm of procrastination in our life times.

I think most people harbour dreams of sailing Mediterranean coastlines, or aspire to trekking some little known stretch of rainforest or dessert.

However most of us tend to feel lucky to get to see the inside of Stansted airport once a year between a there-and-back-mad-dash of badly applied sun cream, hotel swimming pools and underwhelming overpriced restaurants.

Which brings me nicely to why “The Way” is a worthwhile watch. In it’s own mildly spiritual touchy-feely way it does as good a job as many at tweaking that part of your nomadic brain that still remembers how good it feels to pack a bag and wander off track a little. It also speaks volumes of how it often takes a strong push from our well feather nests to get us back on our feet.

A reasonably sure-footed reminder that people travel for all sorts of reasons; to quite smoking, to lose weight, to cure writer’s block or of course, just to go for a really long walk.

Loading tweets...



About your Author.

Topsy turvy spiller of ink, online drifter & vagabond entertainer.

For more about the author click here, or see the links at the top of the page. ☟

And of course, you can always just ask.

✎ ____________________

Currently Reading...