Thursday, September 21, 2006

Who you calling a telly addict? I watch films, too, y’know...

Regular readers will undoubtedly be most upset that I haven't done any film reviews (such as they are) for quite some time. The reason for this is that I haven't watched any for a while. And why is that? Well, apart from the fact that I've had a bit more work on recently, it's also true that the good TV season has started here in Blighty. Well, kind of. In truth, Thursday is a good telly night.

Yep, that's today. So here, before giving you all the skinny on the movie I watched last night, is how I will spend my evening tonight.

8pm: How to Pay Off Your Mortgage in a Year (or whatever the fuck it's called), Channel 4. This is actually a really shit show, but this week it's about property development in Italy, so I'll watch it with a bit more enthusiasm than usual.

9pm: Extras, BBC2. The second episode of the new series. This week it has David Bowie and that Harry Potter kid, I think.

9.30pm: That Mitchell & Webb Look, BBC2. I'd be lying if I said this was a patch on the genius show that was/is the same guys' Peep Show, but it's not so bad. I'll give it another go and see what happens.

10pm: The Sopranos, E4. Fuck me, this is another slow season. Those first three years were absolutely fucking compelling viewing, but seasons four and six have been a bit lacklustre. At least season five was good. They better pick up the pace soon.

11.50pm: The Apprentice USA, BBC2. The Donald shatters another dream. Go Trumpy, go Trumpy...

So now that you have an insight into my exciting life, I will share my opinion on the film I watched last night.

It was another of Red's choices. It's funny, when her choices drop through the letterbox, invariably it is something I've never heard of, so I say to her: "What's this about, then?" And she'll reply: "I don't know. Is it one of mine?" Crazy woman!

This flick was a Spanish one called El Mar (The Sea). It is set in a sanitarium where young men are dying in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. It's not clear what they are dying from -- at least not to me, although it may be common knowledge to Spaniards. Suffice to say they're coughing up shitloads of blood.

The story focuses on two patients and a nun who works there. The three of them were schoolfriends ten years earlier and were kind of involved in the death of two other boys -- one killed by the other, who then committed suicide. The relationships between the three are complex and fascinating and very much grounded in their history -- a history they can never truly be free of. A history of violence (again that term), both in their personal lives and in the "life" of their country.

The three leads are all acting in their first movie here, but you would never know it. Their performances are strong, assured and wholly believable. As the film builds, it becomes more violent, bringing the story round in an inevitable circle and back to the violence with which it began.

El Mar surprised me. I expected nothing, because I knew nothing about it in advance. But it mixed real-life events with surreality, religion, and violence, leaving me never knowing what might come next. For me, this is what good cinema is all about. I hate the predictable dross that we see so much of. Sure, it's fun as popcorn fodder, but it's not real film-making.

So, how do I score this film? I think, once again, this is a film that will stay with me and appreciate in my mind. I should say at this point that Wife didn't like it at all. She doesn't know it yet, but I felt there were traces of David Lynch in there, so it doesn't surprise me that she no like. I'm going out on a limb here and giving this 67 points. Check it out.

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12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

holy sheet, you've got to tape that crock on channel four as there is only one place to be at 8pm.

DRAGONS DEN: BBC2. compelling viewing at it's best. even though you know that anyone up before 8:45 is going home empty handed!

see through wellies for fucks sake!

thursdays in our house...
8pm: me and wife watching d.d whilst i get ready for work,
9-10:30pm video recording bbc2,
10:00pm dvd recording the sopranos.

and is it me or is anthony junior going to pop a cap in uncle juniors ass, no matter what silvi, paul, chris and all the others tell him? hope so!
p.s. meadow? yummy!

21 September, 2006 10:40  
Blogger Tanya said...

Hmm. Kate refuses to watch the artsy fartsy shit that I choose so I have to constantly change our list in accordance with when she is at home (something we both can watch) and when she's working in London (something that I can watch without her telling me it's weird or bizarre)

21 September, 2006 10:48  
Blogger Red said...

I predict a fight over the remote at 9.30pm. That Mitchell & Webb Look is really disappointing (in fact, I feel bad that it's on the DVD for Candy... sorry, girl!) and I might want to check out The Janice Dickinson Modelling Agency on Living TV. TV bitchdom at its best!

21 September, 2006 11:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dont ya'll get Project Runway there?
OMG it's fabulous!
Its the only tv show I'm addicted to..

Spanish Movies do rock ..
Try seeing one called El espinazo del diablo ( the devils backbone )Its really good!
Cynnie

21 September, 2006 13:02  
Blogger apositivepessimist said...

heh I like that Extra's it's only been on here for about 3 episodes the first one was with that Kate Winslet [good stuff] and buggerit I believe it was on last night and I forgot. damn me! I so need to start getting the Sunday paper for the tv guide again.

21 September, 2006 13:39  
Blogger Shep said...

8pm - bundle the kids upstairs.

8.30pm - watch The Notorious Bettie Page

11pm(ish) - Dear partner rolls in from her night on the town. Act as if I've been reading quietly all the time. Then notice I have the book upside down...

Sopranos gets better - stay with it. The one with Lauren Bacall in it had me laughing for days afterwards.

21 September, 2006 14:47  
Blogger Suze said...

Shit! It's 20:14 so I have missed the how to pay of the mortgage prog (a bit difficult when you don't have a job. :D)

I will try to catch Extras though, missed the last one.

Have to search M&M or Living TV for a bit of smut around 23:00, so that will finish off the evening very nicely.

I'm a girl of simple tastes. LOL

21 September, 2006 20:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was out on El Mar as soon as you said "coughing up shitloads of blood."

22 September, 2006 01:13  
Blogger Soupdragon said...

I'm still looking for a copy of the Italian movie "My Mother's Smile". We saw it at the Film Festival here in HK about 3 years ago, I think. I really enjoyed it, but can't find a copy anywhere.... Will keep looking...
El Mar sounds fab ~ perfect antidote to all the Hollywood shite floating about recently. Have you seen Battle Royale? Of course you have, but I just picked up a copy last week, and it were fab! Sometimes a bit too mushy, but that's the Japanese for you. Made up ferrit wi blood and gore, though! Bargain!

:)

SD

22 September, 2006 04:39  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Cappy: I've seen Dragon's Den in the past, and I quite like it, but our set-up is such that I can't record one channel while watching another, because we don't use an aerial, only the satellite dish. Other than that, sounds like we like some of the same stuff. And certainly it seems that AJ wants to do that; whether it'll happen, though, is another matter.

Tanya: We have an agreement to watch each other's choices. Truth is, though, if Red doesn't like something she'll just fall asleep. Is that passive-aggressive or what?!

Red: I still think Mitcehll & Webb is okay, y'know. You can't talk because... oh yeah, you fell asleep. Passive-aggressive!

Cyn: I'm not sure if Project Runway is on here. I'll look out for it. Saw The Devil's Backbone a few months back. Yeah, good little film, that.

Shep: I'm sure The Sopranos will get better, and I will stick with it. But shit. Come on, now, let's get a move on. Hope you enjoyed The Notorious Bettie Page. I like her pics, but I'm not sure about this movie's director...

Suze: Simple tastes, ha! Bravo used to be the place to be at that time of night, but I don't know what went wrong there. Hope you caught Extras. Bowie was great.

Lee: Ah, not your thing then?

Soupy: Wife wants to see that, too, but we've not been able to track it down. Definitely watch El Mar, though. And yes, you answered yer own quezzy: of course I've seen Battle Royale. A couple of times I think. Bought the nice metal-boxed 2-disc version, too. On the whole I'm a bit disappointed with modern Japanese cinema, but that's well up there.

22 September, 2006 07:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Mitchell and Webb, hey its not peep show but the arseholes at C4 put on too late.

Extras is fantastic, Bowie singing 'little fat clown' was just fantastic!

23 September, 2006 19:09  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

RD: I like it, too. I laughed a lot at this week's episode while Wife was soundly sleeping beside me. She seems to drift off within minutes of it starting. I'm not a Bowie fan, but he was great in Extras.

25 September, 2006 10:29  

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