Category Archives: Film & Music

New from J.J. Abrams – Super 8

It’s odd. I hate Alias, Lost and M:I3 but adore Fringe, Star Trek and Cloverfield. So I have to give J.J. Abrams a chance. This teaser for Super 8 looks promising.

27 Songs of Freedom

I wrote a more detailed perspective on Freedom Day on Chris’ blog (because his is all fancy and, you know, stuff like that). So here’s a playlist for the iPod. It’s moody, silly, eclectic and slightly manic – just like our democracy at age 16.

  • Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • I’m Set Free – Velvet Underground
  • Sound of Freedom – Bob Sinclair
  • If You Love Somebody Set Them Free – Sting
  • Free Money – Patti Smith
  • Freedom That I Deserve – Josie Field
  • Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good) – Rozalla
  • Freedom Train – Lenny Kravitz
  • Free Radicals – The Flaming Lips
  • Freedom Time – Bob Marley & The Wailers
  • I Want To Break Free – Queen
  • Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty
  • Simple Song of Freedom – Bobby Darin
  • Born Free – John Barry & Don Black (for the movie Born Free)
  • Chimes of Freedom – Bob Dylan
  • Free – Cat Power
  • A Great Day For Freedom – Pink Floyd
  • Set Me Free – The Kinks
  • Freedom Never Cries – Five For Fighting
  • Stone Free – Jimi Hendrix
  • One Road To Freedom – Ben Harper
  • Free Ride – The Edgar Winter Group
  • Rockin’ In The Free World – Neil Young
  • Stay Free – The Clash
  • Freedom Now – Tracy Chapman
  • Free To Decide – The Cranberries
  • I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free – Nina Simone

Vampire Dire-ies

I have a confession to make, a dark and shameful secret… I’m a 28-year-old woman and I still watch teen shows.

They provide candyfloss entertainment value. The re-booted Beverly Hills 90210 has great clothes, Gossip Girl has sniping Upper East Side brats, and re-runs of Dawson’s Creek (or ‘Dawson’s Crack’ as my husband calls it) have that wildly improbable dialogue.

With boys and girls getting a hard-on or wet panties for marble man Robert Pattinson, it was inevitable that TV execs would create a weekly teen bloodsucker attraction. But did they have to resort to the drek that is Vampire Diaries?

Set somewhere in middle America, Vampire Diaries, or VD as I prefer to call it (since it’s just as unbearable), makes New Moon look like a Fellini masterpiece.

At least something happens to Twilight vampires when they go in the sun, even if it is fairy sparkling. In VD, the vampire hunk is named “Stefan” (say it in a girlish whisper), sits happily in full sunshine and doesn’t have to fight any bloody-thirsty urges. He even plays high-school football for fuck’s sake.

He also goes home and writes in his diary (internal monologue time) that he’s worried his brother has ‘lost his humanity’ because he continues to bite people. Ha, and you thought Edward Cullen was a pussy!

Of course, the ‘bad’ vampire brother loves the same girl as the ‘good’ vampire brother. It’s like Sweet Valley High with sibling issues and very large hiccies.

The stereotypical ensemble characters are as insipid as the female lead, a sorrowful orphan who used to be a cheerleader but is now, like, really deep and stuff. Obviously she also has a diary. She even writes “Dear Diary”. It’s okay, howl with laughter. I certainly did.

If only Stefan’s diary was a bit more realistic, something like, “Went to school. Drank some animal blood. Scored a touchdown, got laid. Awesome.” Now that would be a show.

So, three episodes later, I’m giving VD a skip. Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf is scarier and at least she doesn’t wear flannel.

*VD is on DSTV’s Vuzu Monday nights at 8:30.

The Other Cult Classics

Matrix, Blade Runner and T2 all have their classic box-office place, but these films challenged reality without the fanfare.

dark_city_poster

Dark City
Strange beings make a whole city sleep and change who the people are. Factory workers become CEOs, policemen become gangsters. When they wake up, they don’t remember who they used to be. But one night a naked and confused Rufus Sewell does…. Noirish and surreal, with a gorgeous Jennifer Connelly and mad Kiefer Sutherland, this is one of my favourite films of all time. It’s a reminder that Alex Proyas once made great, not just good, cinema.

lawnmower-man

Lawnmower Man
Simple but kind gardener gets transformed into evil super-brainiac by Pierce Brosnan’s computer technology. It’s like a twisted Flowers for Algernon on acid. Definitely cheesy and overblown, there’s still something spookily watchable about Jeff Fahey giving it to all those aresholes who treated him like shit when he was dumb. Morale of the story: Don’t tease the stupid people.

12monkeys

12 Monkeys
They say this film didn’t do well at the box office because Brad Pitt plays an ugly lunatic and Bruce Willis plays a nervous dork. Still, it’s oddly intriguing and highly watchable. Madeleine Stowe (her last decent movie) is the empathetic beauty who tries not to believe her patient’s story about a killer virus wiping out humanity. Think love story meets time travel meets insane asylum meets apocalyptic future.

strangedays

Strange Days
In the days of pre-millennium uncertainty, this film captured the nihilistic hedonism of the times – we’re all fucked anyway, so let’s party. With virtual reality devices the drug of choice, a killer soundtrack (Ray Manzarek goes trip-hop with the title track), and Ralph Fiennes in leather pants, it’s like Escape from New York for the 90s.

donniedarkoposter

Donnie Darko
How does anyone describe this film? Donnie wakes up on a country road and walks home to find an aeroplane engine has fallen from the sky into his bedroom. He goes off his medication, hooks up with proverbial naughty Catholic schoolgirl, Jena Malone, and starts having visions of a giant white rabbit. Eric Roberts is brilliant as a man with a dark secret. The ending has a massive twist but still leaves you wondering what it was all about. Brilliant.

gattaca

Gattaca
Genetic engineering has led to society being divided into Valids and Invalids (also known as ‘God children’). Ethan Hawke is an Invalid so determined to reach the stars that, despite a chronic heart condition and severe myopia, he manages to feign being a Valid at the Gattaca space centre. This film gave us a first glimpse of Jude Law, back when he was “one to watch” and not nanny-shagging tabloid fodder. Uma Thurman is ice queenly majestic too.

equilibrium

Equilibrium
Before Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Christian Bale was a gun-wielding agent in a frightening future dystopia where emotion is outlawed. Emily Watson is passionate and flawless, as usual, and the fight scenes are the most enthralling since The Matrix. Best moment: When Bale’s character sees the rain and experiences feeling for the first time (he’s also shirtless).

twenty-eight-days-later

28 Days Later
Genuinely terrifying, and without (much) gore or over-the-top stunts, Danny Boyle gave us nightmares with this tale of survivors trying to escape from rage-infected hordes. Sustained suspense keeps your pulse elevated throughout. The most surreal moment is when Cillian Murphy wakes up in what appears to be a deserted London. Brilliant theme music too, full of fear and desperation. Goosebumps.