Never Let Me Go by Kazu Ishiduguro
This is an amazing book, and I’m terribly scared that I’m going to spoil it. It’s about a strange boarding school, the children who went there and what happens when they are older. And as I say, I don’t want to spoil anything, I just want to say read it. Read it. One hundred per cent, read it.
Never Let Me Go (2010)
I was fascinated to see how this amazing story would be translated to film. I didn’t think it would work and I guess the pacing a secrets of the book didn’t translate well. There just wasn’t the time to actually let it come out in the same way. But I’d love to see another go, it would make an amazing series. Come on, HBO, Showtime, someone. Do it!
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins
Sissy Hankshaw is born with ginormous oversized thumbs, which lead her to a life as the best ever hitchhiker, funding her travels with a modelling career as the face of a feminine hygiene spray. Eventually, in a convoluted fashion, she ends up at a health spa ranch in the dessert waiting for the mating season for a bird specific to the region and in the middle of a revolt of the lesbian cowgirls who are employed by the ranch. And it does get more confusing.
Tom Robbins rarely comes to things in a direct fashion, and I love the tangents that he takes his writing on. I found his obsession with all things vagina in this book… odd. It’s key and central, but there is both love and hate for it, for the vagina and the smells and discharges and pretty much everything else. I feel as though it is supposed to be empowering but it comes across to me as a man writing about women’s bits and it didn’t really work well for me. Despite loving many of the characters created.
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993)
This is such a film of its time. It has the feel of a first or second film, with its awkward acting and kind of raw cuts and style. Gus Van Sant had already made a couple of acclaimed films prior to this, but it was an early feature. I recall loving it as a teenager, but whether that was the film itself or the fabulous kd lang soundtrack, I’m not sure. Rewatching it nearly three decades later, I enjoyed it but I don’t think I’d recommend it. The rambling nature of Robbins is very hard to translate to a film. There’s just not the space to capture the voice of the books, or even really everything about the characters. But by all means, listen to the soundtrack a lot. Do it.
Ed (John Lithgow) spends his life preparing for disaster – hoarding food and supplies, obsessed to the point of destroying relationships with his family. When he meets Ronnie (Blythe Danner), he thinks he’s found a like-minded soul. But love is rarely smooth sailing.
I was so bored during this. I’m a huge John Lithgow fan (not just from the amazing Third Rock from the Sun, but find recordings of him reciting poetry – perhaps on the Selected Shorts podcast. He’s fabulous), but even his presence couldn’t make this work for me. Just when I thought I couldn’t take any more, something finally happened… and then the credits rolled. I just didn’t get it, though it was nominated for awards at a few festivals, so perhaps I’m on my own on this one… wait… no, I just had a look at Rotten Tomatoes. I’m not the only one.
Mate, I’ve seen some shit films this year (in 2020, during lockdown). This is way up there. Waay up there. A kid who’s been fostered into arguably the nicest ever foster family ends up with magic powers that turn him into an adult super hero and fights crime. And some bad guy wants his powers. And… I no longer care.
I quite like Zachary Levi (I loved the ridiculousness that was Chuck) and I wanted to like this, but really. No. It’s awful.
It’s the fourteenth century, Nicholas Cage, Ron Pearlman and some others are knights travelling the world when they are asked to transport a witch to a monastery where the monks are planning to try to ascertain whether she has caused the black plague and to figure out how to deal with that whole situation.
This is a terrible move, by all accounts. The plot makes little sense, the acting is inconsistent and confusing, there is really little to redeem it. And, of course, I kind of loved it. Sometimes, especially mid plague (or pandemic) there’s nothing like a bullshit movie about the plague to get you through.
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CR: IFC Films
A mother, Kay, (Emily Mortimer) and her adult daughter, Sam, (Bella Hancock) go to visit Kay’s mother, Edna (Robyn Nevin) who they think is not going well. However, things are… so creepy. It’s dark, the house seems to change around them, it’s all very confusing. And scary.
I loved this. I’m not a horror lover, but there was this dark, gothic beauty to this. The location was amazing, like somewhere in the Dandenongs. Large gums, that stunning, cold blue light, darkness over darkness. Gorgeous. And probably a bit too scary for me, but still…
There’s a certain type of film from Australia in the 70s and 80s that has become iconic, and that’s the horror gothic film. For a really good look at them, check out the doco Not Quite Hollywood for more. But Razorback is definitely one of the classics.
Set in the deep outback (probably Broken Hill where Mad Max and others were filmed), a US journalist, Beth Winters (Judy Morris) ends up on the trail of a killer wild pig. As is Jake Cullen (Bill Kerr), whose grandson was killed by the pig and he’s out for revenge. Add a couple of really creepy guys and a lot of darkness and it’s great. I mean, it’s quite terrible, but it’s also amazing. Definitely one for a watch, preferably in the company of friends… or I reckon it would be a great one for a moonlight cinema screening. Especially in Broken Hill or somewhere similar. Oh, that would be too scary.
It’s the sixties and everyone’s having sex – and not just with their spouses. But introduce birth control, and the whole concept of swapping out pills (either to stop someone from getting pregnant or making them fall pregnant) and you have a real farce of a film. I mean, a thousand consent issues aside.
Very, very, very much a product of its time. It was a bit fun at times, loved the look of the times. I don’t think I’d recommend it, but it was a really good bit of co-viewing with a mate (in our separate locations) mid-lock down.
Right, so, there’s a pill that you can take that will give you 5 minutes of superpower, only you don’t know what superpower you’ll get. Although… I think once you know, you have the same superpower each time. I think. I got a bit confused on that. Anyhow, it’s very illegal. And the cops are corrupt. So what’s a ‘good’ (or at least, kind of good) cop like Frank (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) to do? Then there’s Art (Jamie Foxx) who’s trying to track down his daughter who is a super power source and somehow the origin of the powers in these drugs (again, a bit confused on that) and there’s Robin (Dominique Fishback), a teenager who deals the drugs. And they all end up kind of working together.
Look, despite the fact that I’m a bit fuzzy on the working of this, I quite enjoyed it. Sci fi, a heap of action, a fair bit of humour, and I’m in.
Neal (Steve Martin) is trying to get home to his family for Thanksgiving, but nothing is going his way… work runs over, there isn’t a taxi to the airport, he misses flights and is stuck in terrible weather. And then there’s Del (John Candy), a fellow traveller whose relentlessly cheerful demeanour drives Neal wild. Yet, it seems, they need each other to get through.
For me, this film totally holds up. It’s ridiculous and stupid and totally unbelievable often, but it’s wonderful and epitomises eighties comedies. Just… great.