Friday, 25 April 2014

Zombies With Mustaches and Other Happy Things

I was just sitting here thinking, I really ought to post on my blog. At the same time I was getting real pleasure out of the cheat on Plants v. Zombies that gives the zombies mustaches. When they die, and their head falls off the mustache flies off, separately, into the air and lands nearby, proving it was a fake mustache all along. It's only a small thing, but it tickles me every time. Why would a zombie be wearing a fake mustache? Genius. If you don't know the game I'm talking about, then please check it out, I think I've blogged about it in the past. It will bring you nothing but joy (and maybe a little frustration if your brains get eaten).

Anyway, I thought I'd just list a few other things that make me happy, while attempting to not be too cloyingly cute. And I'm not going to number them, because that implies order and would hide the fact that I'm just making this up as I go along.

  • Zombies with mustaches.
  • Fat squirrels.
  • The fact I've written "space womble" on my wall (long story).
  • Taking screen breaks to converse with Tommy the Hamster (and the fact I just accidentally typed Jamster, as if he's some kind of tiny musician/dj).
  • Those things you get in bakeries that have some kind of marshmallow, sprinkled with hundreds-and-thousands in an ice-cream cone. No idea what they're called, but their existence makes the world a better place.
  • The fact that if you type "cute zombie pirate" into Google images, this picture by enkana comes up...
  • Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens... No, wait, that's Maria from The Sound of Music... She's got a point though.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter Movies

For the first time in three days, I'm not going to the cinema. There was The Raid 2 on Thursday ( I love Gareth Evans, if you like brilliantly choreographed, violent martial arts films, you owe it to yourself to watch both this film and its predecessor). On Friday I saw the first three Indiana Jones films at The Prince Charles Cinema, reminding me yet again why they are some of the greatest films ever made. Last night I was back at the Prince Charles for Empire Records, which was so good I wanted to immediately watch it again. And tomorrow I'm back there yet again for The Dark Knight trilogy.

So, in order to stop myself feeling at a loose end today I decided to share some Easter movies with you, Beautiful Reader.

For kids and adults alike, try Hop. It could just have been a cute little film about the Easter Bunny, but the voices of Russell Brand and Hank Azaria give it an edge that make it really funny. Also worth a mention is Rise of the Guardians. It's actually about Jack Frost, but Easter plays a crucial part in the story and Hugh Jackman's Easter Bunny is fantastic. And, of course, you can get all Arthurian with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. "He chose... poorly."

For 1950's epics, I'd have to go for The Robe. For me, it is the perfect example of a Hollywood movie from the Golden Era that is trying to be big and important. It is knowingly grand and has moments when people just look meaningfully past the camera for a minute or two in order to express emotion or signify they've just learnt something important. It can make the film a little slow, and even a little silly, but if you go with it and get in the mood, then it's wonderful. Also, I love Richard Burton and Victor Mature.

I suppose if you want a bit of Passover action you could watch The Ten Commandments. Yes, it's technically well made; yes, it's got Yul Brynner in it; but even six years after his death, the mere mention of Charlton Heston's name is enough to send me into a violent rage and I just can't watch anything with him in. Deep breaths, Momento Maureen, deep breaths.

If religion is your thing, then you can't go far wrong with Jesus of Montreal, in which a group of actors staging a controversial Passion Play find the story being echoed in their own lives. It's beautifully made, and gives everyone a chance to say Lothaire Bluteau, which is a brilliant name. Say it with me... Lothaire Bluteau. Nice. I should also mention Godspell. It's painfully dated, but worth watching to see Victor Garber as a hippy-clown Jesus, before he got type cast as stern father figures... or maybe just look at the pictures online, I found it a bit much.

Finally, inevitably, let us move to horror films. This afternoon I shall be cracking open my box set and watching Critters 2. Not only is it a worthy sequel to an awesomely ridiculous horror-comedy, but it's also set at Easter! There's a church service and a guy in a bunny costume and everything! If you like really silly, gross things, if you liked Gremlins, then you owe it to yourself to give these films a watch.

And of course, on a day that celebrates a man coming back from the dead, what better than a zombie movie or two, or even the ten recommended in this brilliant article. Let's be grateful that Jesus resurrected without wanting to eat any brains, or this could be a very different holiday indeed.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Judy Dench and the Cannibals

"Oh Maureen!" I hear you say. "At the beginning of the year you promised to post on your blog every three or four days, and now you have left us bereft for two whole weeks!"

Beautiful Reader, I can only apologise.

"But what was it that inspired you to come back to us on this day, of all days?"

Well, it wasn't news of a zombie apocalypse, nor the sighting of an alien space craft heading our way. In fact, it was watching The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, in which Judy Dench, fabulous as ever, blogs about her experiences moving to India and getting her first ever job. It's a very minor part of the movie, but it was like the Universe was giving me a tap on the shoulder and saying, "Momento Maureen, get your butt it gear."

I continued today's DVD watching experience with Urban Explorer (apparently released as The Depraved for no good reason in the US). This is a German film about a group of young folk being lead through the old tunnels beneath Berlin, who accidentally stumble across a crazed former Border Guard who hasn't quite accepted that the country is now unified... and is a cannibal. It's not the most original idea in the world, but it works. It's surprisingly beautifully shot and the sound track is an interesting blend of the strange sounds you might hear under a busy city, well used to increase the tension. It also manages to have characters you aren't wishing dead after the first ten minutes, unlike many slasher films. It also certainly gained it's 18 certificate and the warning of strong violence and gore. I first saw this a couple of years ago at Frightfest and had totally forgotten quite how graphic it is.

Anyway, while watching Urban Explorer it struck me that this was quite a weird double bill that I had stumbled in to. But I thought, hey, I'm sure if I think about it, these films will have something in common that justifies their being watched back-to-back... and they totally do!

Both films are about people going to a new city, learning things they didn't know about their destination, and having an experience they didn't expect. It's a "Holiday With A Twist" Double Bill!

Other films that could fit into this category are, Cabin in the Woods, The Pack, and the "Road" movies, starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. Now that's a film marathon I'd happily be part of.