Arrgh! Watch Treasure Island 2012 in honour of TLAPD, ye scurvy rascals
19 September, 2012

Ahoy, shipmates.  The first mate, the cabin boy and I lashed ourselves to the mast last weekend and viewed Treasure Island 2012, a BBC miniseries:

youtube.com/watch?v=096g8N6roMc

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this version.  Featuring a talented cast who play well together, it’s a fresh modern production with a fabulous soundtrack.

Famous faces abound:  Donald Sutherland looks like he’s enjoying his role as the treacherous Captain Flint; Rupert Penry-Jones – fabulous in “Whitechapel”, another BBC production – is exquisitely nasty, playing the Squire so far towards the top of the upper crust that one wonders if he needed supplemental oxygen between takes;  Eddie Izzard imbues his Long John Silver with more chiaroscuro than usually seen in this character; Toby Regbo is terrific as Jim Hawkins and Shirley Henderson – Moaning Myrtle in the HP films – plays his mum, her fragile frame, pixie face and wispy voice perfect for the role of victimised widow.  Elijah Wood’s cameo as Ben Gunn is fun – with his love of cheese and the Bible, he was the kids’ favourite character.

A few characters have been invented for the series – including John Silver’s wife, played by Nina Sosanya – and some reassigned or re-imagined – the Doctor starts out as a cowardly drunk, but hits his hero straps eventually – in comparison with Robert Louis Stevenson’s original, but none of them seemed out of place or tacked on.

Beautiful art direction keeps you watching through the parts when your attention may stray a little, thinking you know what comes next.  And there’s an intriguing – if gory – keelhauling scene.  Four out of five pieces of eight.

High Anxiety
27 May, 2012

Me at the cinema, only I left my tiara at home.

I was watching Men in Black III by accident the other day – my friend misread the program times. Cringing in my seat, unable to watch the umpteenth scene staged on the very edge of an extremely high structure, I came to the conclusion that film censorship needs to be expanded.

I can tolerate any amount of sex and violence – as long as neither involve children or furry animals –  but I’d appreciate a warning about vertiginous scenes inducing terror of heights. “V” and “H” are already taken, so a film could be awarded a number of Hitchcocks out of five depending on how much time the actors spend teetering on the brink.

What else would you like to see quantified, to better shape your cinematic experiences?

Sherlock Holmes
28 December, 2009

Wow! Divorcing Madonna has had a salutary effect on Guy Richie’s film-making. This steam-punk version of the famous detective has Holmes and Watson as a pair of sexually charged crime-fighters.  Clever camera angles, jump cuts, forward-reverse  and slow-motion scenes help build dramatic tension and accelerate the pace but the deus in machina is seamless and slick, never self-consciously arty.

The industrial revolution settings bring to life the “dark satanic mills” as awesome scenes for high-octane action, until the machinery and machinations therein become a character themselves. For the first film in years, Jude Law seems awake and fully engaged by his role as Watson, while Robert Downey junior is deranged and disheveled – yet physically, pumped and ripped to perfection – claiming the brilliant yet tormented Holmes as his character by right of brilliant acting. While I’m hanging out for the sequel, I’ll curb my cravings by seeing this one again and again.

Can;t wait to see it again – and totally forgive him for Swept Away. Hope that clunker was taken into account in the divorce settlement. She owes Guy more than one for that.