Monday, 20 September 2010

A Regular Blog-type Blog...

Thought I would have a go at doing a normal blog about some films what I saw and stuff like what normal people write about.

Friday I went to see Brother Tim in dead celebrity caberet show Alive and Swinging at the Latest Music Bar in Brighton. Got to see my little brother dancing with Marilyn Monroe which was awesome. It's not happening again for a couple of months, but there are more dates in December - the 9th, 16th and 23rd I think - and it's definitely worth checking out if you want a night out with famous dead people.

Saturday I had the last ever movie night in my current flat before we move in October. It's been a good flat for movie nights and it was fitting that on this final occasion we watched perhaps the greatest worst film ever made - the Citizen Kane of good bad films, Unmasking the Idol. Basically, it's Poundland James Bond but with ninjas and a baboon sidekick. The baboon sidekick is also a ninja. The final battle is as dramatic and effective as the opening of Saving Private Ryan, only with ninjas. And a baboon. Did I mention that the baboon is also a ninja? The only trailer I could find is for the German version, but it should give you an idea of the general awesomeness:

Sunday I went to see I'm Still Here, the Joaquin Phoenix going looney film, which was actually pretty amazing. Mostly its a film about someone with the arrogance and ego to think that because he's been successful in one industry he can expect the same success to come just as easily in another, despite the fact that he won't have put the same work and dedication into it. Okay, so there's a lot more going on than just that, but I've met a few people with the same attitude in connection with a couple of film projects so it was nice to see it shown up for what it is. There are similarities to other films - Phoenix's downfall reminded me a little of Danny Houston's character in Ivansxtc which is filmed in a documentary style, and there's something about his arrogance and public aggression that reminded me of Anton Newcombe in Dig!

But there's more to it than that, because of who Phoenix is and because of where it sits in an odd, uneasy space between reality and fiction. I still can't quite believe it exists - that someone with that reputation and so much to lose turned their life into a very risky, very public work of art for a year. It means that in terms of the narrative it works on a whole new level that I've never really experienced before. I remember the Letterman incident, watched it on Youtube, chatted about it in the pub, read various reactions on the internet, laughed at Ben Stiller's impression at the Oscars - I guess I'm as guilty as the rest when it comes to a fascination with celebrity downfall. And then I'm watching a film in which this very real thing that I remember happening forms part of the dramatic climax of a work of fiction. It gives you a whole new take on the story. I guess the nearest equivalent is watching something about real life events where you have some frame of reference, except this is kind of different, because it's created; it's intentional. Affleck and Phoenix created a series of real life events in order to tell a story in a film. I think it's a pretty unique and interesting piece of work and I loved it.

I also did some short-film-related stuff which I'll post a diary for in the next day or two...

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