Friday, 21 March 2014
DVD/BLU-RAY: PRE-REVIEWS or WHAT I'M ABOUT TO WATCH AND WHY
After getting my arse kicked by a couple of mates over the previous post -and yes guys I will get round to putting your comments in the comments section- I thought I'd go for something a bit lighter.
I'm coming to the end of a Doctor Who marathon; that is all the box sets of the new Who: the Eccleston one, the three Tennant ones plus Christmas Specials and the half season, and two of the three Smiths (the third is too close). So, what to follow them up with?
Well, films/tv series I'm not going to mention include: Lois & Clark Season 2, Flavia the Heretic, The Ghastly Ones/Seeds of Sin (by writer/director Andy Milligan whose name will crop up later), Combat Shock, Naked Lunch, Superman Blu-Ray Box Set, Dogma, Universal Monsters Blu Ray Box Set, and a few more.
Watered-down Dr Who, perhaps. Kids TV, certainly. But I make no apologies or excuses. Good kids TV/books/films are simply good TV/books/films that can be enjoyed by all ages. Plus it's good to see the character again after her four year stint on Dr Who back in the 70's and to see the sadly late Elisabeth Sladen who, by all accounts, was an even nicer person than the character she portrayed.
As I seem to be connecting the dots then the next to watch has to be-
I've read the books and they are very good teenage SF novels. I enjoyed the first film and Jennifer Lawrence is the breakout young actress of the last ten years simply because, with only Saoirse Ronan on her heels, she's the best young actress to turn up in the last ten years.
As a Science Fiction reader for pretty much all of my life I can state, with little fear of contradiction, that the novel on which the following film was based is one of the best SF novels of the 80's.
It's a shame that the controversy over author Orson Scott Card's homophobia and objection to gay marriage has obscured why the book was filmed in the first place, though it's deeply ironic on several levels that the name given to aliens was changed from buggers in the book to formics in the film. It's very probable that Card didn't know that bugger was a derogatory British term for a gay man, a theory which is supported by the two immediate sequels in which the hero Ender attempts to make amends for his act of genocide. Most of the novels by Card which I've read contain strong humanitarian elements and a well of compassion and it's a shame that these have been tarnished by his bigoted Mormon faith.
I'm also a bit of a fan of cult movies, schlock horror, grindhouse, and the like. Having recently read an interesting piece about writer/director Andy Milligan, whose oeuvre covered psychodrama, horror, early gay cinema and sometimes all of them at once, I thought I'd see if I could find any cheap and came across this one, not only in Blu-Ray but issued by the BFI (the prestigious British Film Institute for you non-cineastes) but with an excellent booklet containing essays by film director Nicholas Winding Refn, well-known writers on horror/cult movies Stephen Thrower and Tim Lucas, and biographer (Neil Young, et al) Jimmy McDonough.
Although American, Milligan came over to London and, when not looking for rough trade, made a few films there and made them fast and cheap as always. Nightbirds (1970) is a psychodrama and the disc also includes another complete movie The Body Beneath. One of the things about Nightbirds is that it stars Berwick Kaler who happens to be a local lad. He comes from South Shields just four miles up the coast on the mouth of the River Tyne. He's possibly best known to soap opera fans for a stint in Coronation Street but has made his living for the last decade and a bit masterminding (writing/directing and probably playing an ugly sister in) the annual pantomime in a York theatre. He also appears in a bit part in The Body Beneath as well as all the other London movies Milligan made. He also contributes a commentary to Nightbirds.
Moving on swiftly we come to an award-winning subtitled teenage lesbian psychodrama which, if one of the lesbians had been a flesh-eating alien, would have a ranked 100% on Ian's criteria for a perfect movie. Curiously there actually is a film which almost matches that description except that it's British, it never came within shoelace-sniffing distance of an award, and the carnivorous alien is humanoid who can look human and comes between a lesbian couple who live in an isolated cottage. It's called Prey and was directed by Pete Walker in the late 70's. And it's not actually that bad. This one, however, is, and I'm sure you've guessed-
And there we have it, my near-future viewing. Feel to make comments on my obvious dubious character made on the choices and comments on them therof above. I reserve the right to review any or none in future posts depending on whether I can be bothered or not.