Thursday, 29 October 2009

At The Pictures: Fantastic Mr Fox

Fantastic Mr Fox is a bit of an odd experience. It really is no different to anything else in Wes Anderson’s body of work – it just happens to also be about a family of foxes. The animation is slightly shonky on purpose; there’s a herky-jerkiness to the movements that gives it an old-fashioned vibe, but again that’s no different to any of his other films really is it? I like how he mixes the personalities of the animals, so one minute their sophisticated humanoid types and then the next they’re just being proper animals. The cast is brilliant. I particularly liked Jason Schwartzman as the sulky junior fox Ash, but in my eyes the show was stolen by Willem Dafoe’s knife-wielding slightly bonkers Cajun street punk Rat. Given the whimsical nature of Anderson’s work I wasn’t really sure how well it’d work as a children’s film, but I overheard some young’uns saying they liked it as I was leaving the theatre so I guess he did alright. And Jarvis Cocker sings a song in the middle of it! FANTASTIC!

At The Pictures: (500) Days of Summer

Saw (500) Days Of Summer in Chapter’s lovely little Cinema 2 the other week but forgot to tell you, my blog, about it. Sorry! I enjoyed it. It was quite inventively done with the jumping back and forth through the 500 days. I’ve read a few criticisms that the Summer character is a bit under-written or whatever, but I didn’t really get that. It’s all told from the guy’s point of view so it’s no wonder she doesn’t come out of the film looking too good, but there’s enough stuff in the film to show you that she isn’t a horrible person or anything. They’re just different is all. But yes, it was a good film, and they all wore nice clothes, and the indie references didn’t really feel shoe-horned in or anything. I did find myself thinking “there’s no way he could afford the rent on that apartment” at various points, but then I think that in a lot of films to be fair. Plus that blackboard bedroom would play hell with your allergies.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

At The Pictures: Toy Story and Up in 3D

The last 2 visits to the pictures have involved Pixar films in Disney Digital 3D. I’m not sure how that’s different from the normal 3D. Toy Story was all re-rendered, and Up was subtle, so you didn’t really get any of that ‘things whooshing towards your face’ 3D-ness. I can’t really decide if that’s a good thing to be honest. Having depth in the picture is nice enough I suppose, but it doesn’t really add anything to the experience that justifies forking out for specs that don’t really fit over normal glasses properly. Part of me thinks that maybe 3D should stick to being a bit tacky and exploitative.

The films themselves were great obvs. I’d forgotten how good Toy Story was, and how perfectly pitched it is to appeal to children and their parents. Up was simply incredible. Genuinely touching and equally hilarious with brilliant characters and imagery. Not quite sure if I prefer it to Wall E and The Incredibles, but I think they’re a bit too different to compare. The only slight quibble I had was with the ‘baddie’. You just didn’t get enough sense of his character, and the failures that had made him so bitter. But other than that, faultless.

Swn 2009

My Swn from fuzzy memories:

Thursday - Shape night at Dempseys was mostly great. Thought the stripped down Freddie Stars were a bit boring alas, twas a shame. The rest was great but I was well tired by the end so I was itching for Zun Zun Egui to finish. Was relieved when they said "we're going to play one more song!" and then the relief soured when that one song turned into a 20 minute jam. They were pretty good though. Islet and Them Squirells were both great, and Evils as a full band was cool.

Friday – Was excited about seeing Exit International again, but now they're a bit too FOTLy/Mclusky-ish. When I first saw them the long hair man had crazy distortion over his vocals and the whole thing was a lot more sludgey and messed up sounding (for the better). PIZZA SLICE BONUS: Then I had a nice pizza at Pizza Express, the Sloppy Guissepie (or however you spell it). I’ve tried ordering it the last few times we’ve been, but it’s always been unavailable. It was nice, but I thought it would be sloppier... Then I saw a bit of Jonny Foreigner and I still don't like them, so I saw a bit of the Longcut who were also not great, and the Fuwch Goch doesn't really work as a venue that well, so I went back to Clwb. Pulled Apart By Horses were amazing. Attempted to head back to Fuwch Goch for Girls but obvs it never happened with the queue, so decided to catch people up in Dempseys but it was 1-in-1-out for Silver Gospel Runners (WTF?) and so we ended up in City Arms (first time I've been there since Twatty Bouncer-gate) for a drink because I didn't want to see Rogues, though this then meant we couldn't get in for Strange News (which was a shame as everyone who made it in said it was great) and then we just ended up dancing to the ridiculous DJing downstairs at Clwb till stupid o'clock.

Saturday - caught a bit of Allo Darlin but they weren't for me, bought some CDs in the record fair. I think new Chapter is good, nicer than old Chapter. The Gate stuff was great, though I don't know why it took them quite so long to serve people at the bar. I'm looking forward to seeing Internet Forever again at some point, and I think it was the best I've seen Los Camp ever. Mark Attack's Record Breaking Crowd-surf was amazing. Got into Slow Club no problems really (having power-walked over from the Gate), but they started about 15 minutes early which is a bit naughty, and it was full of people chatterboxing away which annoyed me no end. They were good though despite not playing their best song (All Our Most Brilliant Friends). Took one look at the queue for Right Hand Left Hand and realised there was no chance of getting in so had a quieter sit down drink whilst Adam Walton DJd in City Arms (didn't actually realise it was Adam Walton DJing untill the next day though, woops) then back to Dempseys for Moshi Moshi DJs - who were fun. So yes, all in all I had a fun weekend.

It's quite easy to find small niggly faults with Swn but equally easy to overlook them and have a great time (which I did), so hope they keep going strong. Just maybe try and not have the most hyped bands of the weekend in tiny venues with no other alternatives on next year please? It’s a shame they didn’t use Buffalos and Tommy’s Bar as they’re both semi-established venues despite their faults, so I hope they’re involved next year. Curious to see how the festival evolves from this point in, but best o' luck to 'em.

Friday, 9 October 2009

The Pizza Slice - DOUBLE PORTION

Alright Blog? How are you? This week I have had 2 pizza experiences. Firstly, I made my own on Monday night. They were a triumph. Toppings were some wilted spinach, chestnut mushrooms, and Italian cured ham. Plus the obligatory mozzarella and tomato sauce. I think they were probably the best pizzas I’ve ever made; and the first since moving house. I think the fan-assisted oven may have made a difference. The next step on my odyssey is to get an unglazed bit of marble or whatever to use as a bake-stone. Don’t want to buy an expensive one from the kitchen shops though. I'm sure I’d be able to get a cheaper option from a reclamation yard.

Pizza experience 2 was Pizza Express. King of the Highstreet. I had a voucher which gave you starter/main/drink for a £10er. I’m not that fussed on the garlic bread or doughballs personally; you don’t really need a bready starter before a bready main. My main was the ‘la reine’ which is ham, olives, and mushrooms. Ladyfriend had that one with spinach and an egg – it was nice but the egg got a bit rich. Can't go wrong for a £10er though!