This. Venus. Sweet. Oh.

May 15th, 2015

This is Spinal Tap, Rob Riener (1984). As a musician, I can’t believe I had got to 45 and hadn’t seen this (scuse the pun). It was time to remedy that. There really are only are four words to say about this film “see it and laugh”. But everyone probably knows that already, so I’ll just highlight some of my favourite lines. Characters called Derek Smalls and Stumpy Peeps … “he died in a bizarre gardening accident … best leave it unsolved really“, “choked on vomit, someone else’s vomit“. Then, wait, Fran Fine, yes the Nanny herself working for Polymer records! “The Boston gig’s been cancelled, it’s not a very big college town“, “I’m how God made me“, “barber-shop raga“, Mozart and Bach – Mach, “patron saint of quality footwear“. With lovely cameos of Billy Crystal and Angelica Houston, it almost felt like a pre-cursor to a Wes Anderson film in a particularly ‘British’ way. I loved it!

Venus in Furs, Roman Polanski (2013). I didn’t realise this film was so young, so I broke my usual pattern and hired one nightly and 3 weeklies for $10. This film was recommended for me, and while it was good, I was actually not that interested. Emmanuelle Seigner was absolutely fantastic, but overall the experience was ordinary. It may have also had something to do with trying to watch a French (subtitled film) and have a conversation on OK Cupid – neither of which I did very well. Lesson: just watch a film :)!

Sweet Sixteen, Ken Loach (2002). For all of Ken Loach’s appeal because of his strong stance as a human being, telling stories of people who have been voiceless and powerless in society for decades, I’d have to say I’m uncomfortable with it. But I suppose that’s the idea. Sweet Sixteen is a gritty, powerful, yet predictable drama about a boy who just wants his mum to be happy, and to escape the awful life he thinks she has. It is extremely violent, disturbing and highly frustrating to watch. I’ll be carefully vetting any future Ken Loach film, they are too traumatising!

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? Joel and Ethan Coen (2000). I like watching George Clooney (who doesn’t), and in this film he really shines as an actor – ie. he doesn’t seem to just be playing himself. But he does this with strong support from Tim Blake Nelson and John Turturro. I found myself asking at the siren scene, what are the stories of Homer’s Odyssey (must read that!), as it was quite clear that this film follows the plot (as the prologue indicates) and I think it would have added extra if I had a knowledge of that. Alas, I didn’t study Classics in High School (aside: it would be great to see what people think they should have studies in Year 12 now they have life experience. For me Classics and French of course would have been there!). Fantastic sound track, and great film.

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