jcvd

February 22, 2013

jcvd

Believe it or not Jean Claude van Damme sends himself up in JCVD. He plays a washed-up former action star in debt, who ends up involved in a hostage situation at the local post office in the small town in Belgium where his parents live. Or is he the hostage taker? Either way, I had a lot more respect for him (and his sense of humour) after watching the film. Excellent tongue-in-cheek entertainment, if a bit sobering on the back of this interview. A rare glimpse behind the man behind the mask.

Advertisements

down in the hole

February 22, 2013

A re-up of Season 4 pulled us right back into The Wire loop, as addictively as before. The added bonus for me is the fantastic slave-to-the-beat version of the series’ supremely catchy theme song, ‘Way Down in the Hole’. It’s on constant playback, both in reality and in my head.

The relative merits (or not) of each season’s version are hotly discussed among Wireheads. I already liked The Blind Boys of Alabama’s Season 1 version, although Tom Waits’ gravelly (original) version in Season 2 gives the song a feel that is a completely different. The Neville Brothers in Season 3 didn’t seem to make a lasting impression, but DoMaJe’s version in Season 4 has grabbed me by the throat and won’t let go. It features the five Baltimore teenagers Ivan Ashford, Markel Steele, Cameron Brown, Tariq Al-Sabir, and Avery Bargasse, and was arranged and especially recorded for the show.

Steve Earle does the final Season 5 version, but Mr. Snow and I are loath to start that season. It’s a mix between fear of having to totally surrender to the series (again), and never ever having any more episodes to watch again… nor new theme versions to discover.

Have a listen if you need to, and tell me if you agree. Or, do you love an alternative version of a well-known song?

man on wire

February 22, 2013

wire

Looking back, I think Man On Wire was one of the very best documentaries I have ever seen. And you won’t get a better Myyear recommendation than that!

Expectations after reading the online reviews were high, but even so, nothing quite prepares you for the spectacle that is Philippe Petit. This documentary follows him and his merry band of followers (although in this band are the brains behind Petit’s passionate, if hare-brained schemes) using a combination of old footage, some surprisingly effective reconstruction, but best of all Petit’s own highly animated recounting of their adventures, using anything within arm’s reach as a prop.

Combined with a tightrope act between the twin towers makes it a no-brainer. Watch at all costs!

incendies

March 8, 2012

Is anyone still out there? I know My Year Online is long over, but once in a while, something pops up that is so special that I have to share. The opening sequence of the film Incendies falls into that category.

I watched it with Special K some months ago now, but just the mention of Radiohead still brings the whole soaring, heart-stopping sequence rushing back to me. The rest of the film is good too in a slightly unsettling kind of way, though with an ending that is perhaps a little far-fetched. Overall, a good watch, but still, it’s this that stays with me. Turn up the volume, watch and tell me if it was the same for you?

 

marcel the shell with shoes on

September 16, 2010

I know, I know – it’s been ages and I never got to my 365 posts. No excuses (and I can’t even blame Snowball), but here’s a gorgeous stop motion treat a new friend shared with me. Enjoy!

MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON from Dean Fleischer-Camp on Vimeo.

waltz with bashir

April 26, 2009

Almost May, really? Time flies when you’re having fun! I’m still planning on making good on my 365 post-promise, and the good news is that I’m cherry picking the best of what I’ve seen, read and eaten the last few months for your pleasure.

To start with, a serious, but visual delight of storytelling. Waltz with Bashir was on my Film Fra Sør shortlist last year, but it took me till now to get to see it at the cinema. The first animated film to be nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award, it tells the story of how the director Ari Folman uncovers his long buried memories of his personal experiences in the Lebanon War.

If you are at all a fan of the graphic novel, this film is definitely for you, as it’s a graphic novel come to life, grippingly and heart-stoppingly so. Few judgements are made on what happened, why and how, but a solemn reminder that every armed conflict affects and marks individuals, people like you and me.

leonardi baa vinci

April 26, 2009

Mr. Snow\’s cousin tipped me off on this one. I\’m sure this has made it into the Shepherding Hall of Fame where he lives. Watch and be azamed. Tusen takk, D!

slumdog millionaire

January 30, 2009

If you haven’t got plans for the weekend and haven’t seen the film yet,  I can’t say much else except that this incredibly watchable film will be a hugely entertaining way to spend two hours, and make you want to cheer out loud. That’s the effect the wild city filming and music had on me, despite the slightly thin storyline. Beat the book hands down. Just go!

top 10 films of 2008

December 14, 2008

cinema

It’s that time of year again, when everyone gets to make their lists of favourites for the year, and one of the ones I watch out for most is the film list. The Guardian’s film critics have put together theirs, below.

It seems like I got to go to the cinema lots this year, having seen 5 out of the 10 (1, 2, 3, 7 and 10), one more is waiting on DVD (8), and meant to see but missed 2 more at the Oslo Film Festival (5 and 9). That leaves two that didn’t really make it onto my radar (4 and 6), but now they are in the cross-hairs.

I’m not really sure I agree with their No.1 choice, if only because the book was not only better, but importantly had a very different ending and message. And of course, I saw many films which were older than from 2008. If I had to choose from their list, I think the Myyear list would look like this:

1. The first half hour of Wall-E.

2. Man On Wire

3. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

4. There Will Be Blood.

5. No Country for Old Men.

See below for the Guardian’s list! Read the rest of this entry »

hunger

December 12, 2008

hunger

(A different) Steve McQueen won the Golden Camera at Cannes this year for his film Hunger, about the IRA hunger strikers at the Maze Prison outside Belfast during the 1980s. Sadly one I missed at the Oslo Film Festival this year, but I got to read and learn more about the story behind it from men who had been there themselves, in this article in the Guardian.

From it,

In 1976, the British government had decided to phase out special category status for convicted terrorists as part of a bigger process known as ‘criminalisation’. The protest began on 14 September 1976, when Kieran Nugent, the first IRA man to be convicted for terrorist offences under the new policy, reputedly said to a prison guard: ‘If you want me to wear that uniform, you’re going to have to nail it to my back.’ He was given a blanket and escorted to his cell.

Other IRA prisoners followed his example, and in 1978 the mass blanket protest turned into the dirty protest when IRA prisoners refused to leave their cells following another violent dispute, this time over a demand for extra towels in the communal washrooms. The prisoners’ policy of non-cooperation meant that they were often confined for days on end in their tiny concrete cells with just a blanket, a mattress and a Bible. Refusing to wash or slop out, they began emptying their urine out over the floor and smearing their excrement on the walls.

Freddie Toal was one of the prisoners, and said:

‘For a long time, when I was on the blanket, I had no real idea what I looked like. The only time I ever saw my face was this one time when the screws were sweeping piss into our cells. The sun suddenly shone through the window and, for a few seconds, I saw my reflection in a pool of piss. It sounds funny but it took me a while to register it was me. I looked like a wild man.’

Go to the article to read more about how and why men find themselves in such a situation, and the Northern Ireland story in general.