This reboot of a beloved 80s classic is neither a comedy masterpiece nor a proof that Jesus died in vain, as some people’s reactions would have you think. After seeing it, it’s actually pretty bizarre that so much controversy happened over something that’s just a fairly average, perfectly corporate piece of entertainment that deserves neither big praise nor vitriol. I guess it has the pressure of succeeding as a female-led comedy blockbuster, which apparently every female-led big movie has to prove over and over no matter the past successes, which is irritating as heck but I digress.
Confession: though I always loved classic literature I could never make it through a single Jane Austen book – I tried at least four of her novels and gave them all up in the first fifty pages. Something about her writing style clearly rubs me wrong, but despite this, I enjoyed many of the Austen film and TV adaptations. While this onscreen version of her early, little-known novella is not my favourite it was amusing and diverting.
This is the first volume in the Italian writer’s Neapolitan Novels series, and if the next three books are as good as this one I should make it to the end of the quadrilogy in no time at all.
In honour of Mum’s new kitten, here’s a passage from Doris Lessing’s On Cats that I always loved:
Kitten. A tiny lively creature in its transparent membrane, surrounded by the muck of its birth. Ten minutes later, damp but clean, already at the nipple. Ten days later, a minute scrap with soft hazy eyes, its mouth opening in a hiss of brave defiance at the enormous menace sensed bending over it. At this point; in the wild, it would confirm wildness, become wild cat. But no, a human hand touches it, the human smell envelops it, a human voice reassures it. Soon it gets out of its nest, confident that the gigantic creatures all around will do it no harm. It totters, then strolls, then runs all over the house.
Directed by John Boorman and telling the classic story of King Arthur, Excalibur is one of the finest fantasy films ever made and one of my favourite films, period. I didn’t always love it – in fact the first time I caught it on TV many years ago I actually thought it was one of the most ridiculous, stilted, hideously overacted things I’ve ever seen, and I suspect that this reaction would be fairly common. It wasn’t until later that I rewatched the movie and hopelessly fell before its dreamlike charm.
Lovely movie by a first-time Turkish-French director that takes a look at adolescence, the suppression of female sexuality and the arranged marriage in modern Turkey, a bit like a darker Pride & Prejudice or a more optimistic Virgin Suicides. The movie starts off in a small village on the Black Sea coast, on a last day of school term, as five young sisters say tearful farewells to their teacher who is moving back to Istanbul. Then, to celebrate the holidays, they frolic in the sea with some boys from their school. Unfortunately, their innocent games scandalise an elderly neighbour who tattles on the girls to their grandmother and uncle and makes them out to be a bunch of shameless hussies.
A strange little movie based on a poem novel by an Australian author Dorothy Porter – a fact I had no idea about before watching it, but you can guess its literary roots from the kind of dialogue that probably sounds fine on the page but comes off as mighty pretentious and unnatural onscreen. The movie stars Susie Porter as Jill Fitzpatrick, a private detective who is hired to investigate the disappearance and subsequent murder of a young female student and a budding poet who, surprise surprise, turns out to have led a double life her parents had no idea about. Jill’s investigation leads her to the girl’s uni lecturer Diana (Kelly McGillis), who she is immediately attracted to. The two women embark on an affair that Diana’s younger husband (Marton Csokas) strangely doesn’t seem to mind, while Jill starts to receive spooky phone calls meant to scare her away from any further sleuthing.