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Problems with the new Jackie Chan & Pierce Brosnan “The Foreigner” movie

Problems with the new Jackie Chan & Pierce Brosnan “The Foreigner” movie

So, at long last, the trailer for the Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan movie, “The Foreigner” (directed by the man who made Goldeneye and Casino Royale) has been unveiled.

As a YouTube commentator wagged, it’s like an Asian Taken!

From the trailer, it looks pretty cool with at least one classic Jackie Chan move remixed, but a couple of things strike me:

– The film is famous for having blown up a London bus on a Sunday afternoon in Lambeth Bridge, alarming a lot of people nearby who didn’t realise it was a film stunt. Given all the effort they went into filming that stunt, it’s surprising it’s not in the trailer. Instead, it’s a more generic urban bombing that appears in the trailer. Maybe they decided to drop that sequence?

– This is probably just me, but I’m just not ready to see Pierce Brosnan playing the bad admin guy.

What do you think?

Emma Watson, alcohol and the British

Emma Watson, alcohol and the British

When I was a young teenager growing up, drinking was seen as something cool for all teenagers to do. And, let’s face it, drinking is relatively easy. Even I managed to have a few drinks during my teenage years in an attempt to look vaguely cool.

So when Emma Watson (aged 21) spends three minutes on David Letterman talking about alcohol before finally confessing that she only got drunk once, you do have to wonder just how isolated/isolating the Harry Potter stars were, when at least two of them can’t do what British teenagers have been doing for years up and down the land – get drunk, and then carry on the next day.

I also wonder how that played in bi-alcohol America – where people either drink till they punch people in the face, or stay away from that demon drink. Alcohol does seem more integrated into the British way of life, but with notable exceptions, they tend to moderate it.

Mind you, I’ve started drinking a bottle of beer a day, and a tiny part of my mind is a tad worried I’m going to end up being a mild alcoholic.

The King’s Speech? Really?

The King’s Speech? Really?

A generically dull, predictable, historically inaccurate but worthy English heritage film about a noble man who overcomes troubles to defeat his enemy wins the Oscar for Best Film? Best Director? Really? THIS is what the Oscar voters deem to be the best film made and shown in America in the last year?

You know what this means?

Every darned British film producer is going to spend the next five to ten years trying to make me-too films about fellow noble Royals who, despite seeming to have everything in the world, have to overcome a secret problem to achieve their objective. After Chariots of Fires, we had to put up with endless English heritage films. After Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (the last major British film success), we had to put up with endless English gangsta films set in South London.

More dull British films that harken back to England’s glorious past, as opposed to trying to look to Britain’s present and future. A boon for heritage production designers, but bad news for anyone who wants to look forward, not backwards.

Thank Gawd the baby means I’ll probably be avoiding cinema for the next five years.

btw, I once popped into Colin Firth’s wife’s eco-friendly shop in Chiswick. The shop assistants there were unbelievably snooty.

(Ob. disclaimer: I haven’t seen this film. Or, indeed, any of the nominated films this year. I’m blaming it on the baby)

Life behind Star Trek and Doctor Who

Life behind Star Trek and Doctor Who

One of the things I love is finding out the minutiae, the inside notes behind a great production. I have actually listened to DVD commentaries, and one of my favourite books is Russell T Davies’ The Writer’s Tale – it’s like reading his blog while he was writing and producing Doctor Who.

Oddly, no similar book has been written about that other great sci-fi franchise, Star Trek. At least, until Michael Piller wrote a book about the writing of the last Next Generation Star Trek film, Insurrection – but the book never saw the light of day. Now, thanks to the Internet, it’s available if you’re willing to go against the wishes of Piller’s family.

As you can imagine, there’s been a bit of analysis over the book, which most people will find deathly dull, but I found endlessly fascinating.

Thanks to foomandoonian for the tip-off!

Chinese/Japanese people in the UK: You’re wanted…

Chinese/Japanese people in the UK: You’re wanted…

to be an extra in a film alongside Keanu Reeves. Although it’s unlikely that you’ll actually *be* next to him, of course – unless you’re extremely lucky in the way that I ended up next to Ewan McGregor in a 1990s film shoot…

Anyway, here are the details of what’s wanted:

When films start talking to you…

When films start talking to you…

It doesn’t happen very often these days but occasionally, I’ll be stuck for an evening inside some kind of video editing setup, trying to edit a series of rushes into a vaguely coherent video. Personally, the last thing I’d want to have are those rushes to start speaking back to me.

But that’s what used to happen on the set of Quentin Tarantino’s films – where the cast and crew would be encouraged to occasionally say “Hi Sally!” to Tarantino’s long-time editor Sally Menke, who sadly died this week. It’s creepy watching characters break off from a scene to essentially wave to the people behind the camera.

It’s bad enough when you leave alone a video game character you’re playing, and then he/she slowly turns to look at you as if to say “What now, dude?”. Personally, I find that highly spooky and it happened to me once on Enter The Matrix. I haven’t played the game since.

Or is that just me?

Cinephilia in West London

Cinephilia in West London

The ideal living room - Cinephilia

The ideal living room - Cinephilia

Ob. disclaimer – I was invited via Qype to a night at Cinephilia West, a film cafe/bar/screening room in Westbourne Grove. My review of the place follows:

If you like food, or cinema, this is DEFINITELY the place for you.

First off, it’s a learned cinema fan’s paradise. The basement is the ideal living room, stuffed full with cinematic books and DVDs for sale, and at the end a huge screen where they hold evening screenings. It’s a fantastically chilled out place from where to watch your favourite obscure film (Brazil). They hold screenings of curated films once a week, and it sounds like a fantastic way to broaden your film knowledge.

The ground floor holds film exhibitions, and a very very good selection of film magazines that you can just pick up and read. Plus there’s wi-fi if you want to work on your killer screenplay.

Alongside all this is a cafe, but not just any cafe. The sangria is gorgeous, and the cakes are oozing with seductive delights.

If I had one complaint about this place, it’s that it’s obviously not for your average-going Odeon mainstream person who prefers Doctor Doolittle to Doctor Parnassus. And the price for food heaven is a bit high …

But for years I have often lamented the lack of film-centric places in West London. Now there is one, and I can’t see how it could get better. (well, unless they held screenings of Doctor Who)

Check out my review of cinephilia – I am almostwitty – on Qype

Watch the Best British film EVAH – online

Watch the Best British film EVAH – online

Hell, it might well be the best film ever…

If you’re in the UK, you can now watch Terry Gilliam’s superlative Brazil online till Sunday.

It’s the film of a story that 1984 tried to tell, but adds a huge dollop of black humour, fantasy, and terrorism to the mix. Definitely a must see.

The rise of Chinese pop culture…

The rise of Chinese pop culture…

When my sisters and I were growing up (younger than ten), we were somewhat discouraged from consuming Western pop culture, ie music and films, by our parents. (Can’t you tell?) Thus, while my schoolfriends were (perhaps) reading Smash Hits et. al., we were listening to Cantopop and comedy films from Hong Kong, procured at great expense and effort from Chinese shops in Liverpool.

One of the tapes we used to constantly listen to on those long drives to Liverpool were albums by Sam Hui, who along with his brothers also used to make knock-about comedy capers like Security Unlimited. They were simple, but had catchy tunes and comedy routines – in the back of my head, I can probably still recall the Security Unlimited way of learning how to drive. Think of a working class Nolan Sisters branching into Carry On films, with no innuendo.

Then we got a radio, I discovered how to control the television set, and I threw myself into UK pop culture (Smash Hits! Neneh Cherry! Doctor Who!) while my parents wondered where exactly they had gone wrong.

Fast-forward 25 years, and a chance Googling reveals that American casinos are so keen to get Chinese gamblers coming in, they book Sam Hui to perform at Las Vegas, and casinos in Connecticut have Chinese-language websites where lots of Asian pop stars perform, for the cash. I’ve seen casinos put up Chinese-language signs in London and Manchester to compel Chinese gamblers to come in, but this takes it to a whole new level.

As for that Security Unlimited – the film my sisters and I must have watched hundreds of times on repeat on a dodgy VHS – is now on YouTube, and also available via Amazon.com video-on-demand. Technology, eh?

Now if only I could speak Chinese.

"Put the f'king lotion in the basket…"

"Put the f'king lotion in the basket…"

You may have seen a musical clip from the frankly genius idea of Silence of the Lambs: The Musical set to Lego:

Anyway, it turns out the musical is coming to London mid-January! Who’s with me? We can all wear night-vision goggles and adopt cod-Virginian accents! (or surgical masks and cod-posh-Welsh accents)…

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