Saturday, May 31, 2008

Movies: Sex and the City


Sex and the City the movie, originally uploaded by annalyn.

I nearly didn't catch Sex and The City on Thursday night with Fliss as the first three cinemas I tried, it had already sold out... It is obviously the movie of the week. Fortunately the O2 centre had some seats and so that is where we caught it. With around 700 die hard fans of the series. Who were mostly women. With a smattering of self-conscious boyfriends... And a few gays... Fliss had to explain to her men-folk that she was going to this movie with her gay friend because she knew they wouldn't want to see it. One of them is jealous of our relationship but that's just because he doesn't have a filthy mind or a sense of humour...

Actually I was disappointed with the gay turnout for a movie about (to borrow from a Simpsons episode) four gay men living in New York city... Played by women... But then again this is North Greenwich... As the film started people started cheering. I don't understand the cheering. I think these women need to get out more...

Anyway is the film any good? Well being a fan of the series (having watched every episode at least twice) I guess I could forgive its flaws such as:

  • Lack of credible plot and ludicrous dialogue
  • Really unflattering lighting of the leading ladies (is this a trend nowadays to make ladies on screen look as bad as possible? Like they are getting on, but do we need to see how the plastic surgery and botox is desperately trying to work?)
  • Wondering if Kim Cattrall was wearing horse hair (was this SJP's revenge for the fact they hate each other?)
  • Two overlong clothing montages that lacked the style of The Sweetest Thing
  • A collection of the most dreary pop tracks ever inflicted on a chick flick. When Al Green starts singing as two characters meet on the Brooklyn Bridge, you will want to reach for an (empty) popcorn bucket
Still there were some funny moments, and it was nice to see Jennifer Hudson on screen again (even if she just breezes in to fix Carrie's website, give pat advice and get her a decent mobile phone). And while the other male characters are sidelined to bit parts, at least David Eigenberg as Steve manages to prove on the big screen he can still look good naked. Alas one can't say the same for Big, Harry or Smith... And I can't recall seeing a movie before which so trashes a leading man character to the point that you leave the film thinking, "Eeew... she ended up with him!"

All these flaws with the movie don't really matter much however. Even Sex on a bad day is better than nothing . This movie is also going to be huge because all we have had to watch for the past four years are episodes of Desperate Housewives... Interestingly on screen, the year is missing from any dates that are shown (such as emails, newspapers etc). It does feel like the film is trapped in a time warp. It even backs the wrong Democrat... There are references to Hilary on the film but none about Obama. Things have changed since 2004, even if the writers and producers assumed they had not... Anyone who isn't a fan or the series should steer well clear (and girls who drag their boyfriends to this movie will owe them big time)...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Hot news this week in London...


260520085836, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London.

Some people don't like the brown word...

Movies: Indiana Jones and something or other about a crystal skull


230520085774, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London.

Friday evening I went to the Odeon Leicester Square to see the latest Indiana Jones and the very long title movie... I am glad they have shortened it to just "Indy" on the posters as that saves a lot of time. Despite the price of the ticket, the Odeon Leicester Square is a great place to go to see a movie with die-hard groupies (and is less likely than most other London Odeon cinemas to smell like a toilet and have bad sound). People cheered and carried on as if it were a football match...

While my friend Adam is a fan of the series, he wasn't as hard core as half the crowd at the sold out Friday evening screening who came wearing brown leather jackets and hats. It was like a window into another world. All throughout London, seemingly normal and straight men had tucked away in their closets an Indiana Jones costume (complete with khaki trousers and shirt). They may have had whips too but I wasn't checking out what was below their belts... For a movie franchise that is all about fun and adventure these guys seem to be taking it very seriously.

As for the movie, it is just as good as the others, but that doesn't mean to say its a great picture. This one suffered from looking like it was shot on a sound stage a few too many times... But it is isn't the dud flick that the internet gossip was suggesting... Nice acting too by Cate Blanchett as the villainess and John Hurt as the crazy man (John Hurt playing John Hurt really)...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Overheard at Clapham Sainsburys Saturday...

Chav man: Shuddup you stupid cow... Don't make a scene...
Woman: Y-y-y-y-y-your a baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaastard....

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Overheard at the gym Monday...

Man #1: I really enjoyed it on Saturday...
Man #2: Yeah what's it like?
Man #1: Well there's loads of guys. There are the muscle daddies... But they just play with themselves...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Theatre: Pygmalion



Watching Pygmalion at the Old Vic this week it finally dawned on me why it has always felt a little creepy to think that Henry Higgins would end up with Eliza Doolittle. Well it isn't just because (in this production anyway) she is much younger. It is because he is just too camp. Henry Higgins already has a relationship with Colonel Pickering and so Eliza is simply left to pick up the slippers. She never had a chance with those two old poofs... There they were out all night drinking together, gambling together or hanging around in Covent Garden overhearing conversations... Not to mention all those contraptions in the study looking at the mouth... It all makes sense... It's a man's world in the Higgin's household...

This version of Shaw's play goes back to his original version published in 1916. At times it felt like the production was using the original sets with its quaint production values and a taxi car that crawls across the stage (although the looked lovely and weren't intrusive). But in many ways the play seemed as if it was having its first run. It seemed fresh and as if the laughs were being heard for the first time. Well maybe saying "not bloody likely" nowadays is not as scandalous as it was ninety years ago, but it was still darn funny.

Part of the reason this production works so well is that the acting - particularly Tim Piggott-Smith and Michelle Dockery as Higgins and Eliza - was excellent. Special mention also has to go to Barbara Jefford as Mrs Higgins who gave the show a knowing weariness. Well given what we know of her son it all makes sense I suppose. When she chastised her son for hanging out in Covent Garden it just seemed like it was a euphemism for something else... Come to think of it, with all this talk about going out all night and overhearing conversations in Covent Garden I was glad the Whingers and their friends didn't draw parallels to the life of Higgins and a few of us bloggers out there... I thought Shaw's scenario of bachelors living together was a bit disturbing so after the theatre I went home and threw out my cardigans and slippers... I may be more than a few years away from my fifties but you never can be too careful.

And as for the Old Vic, well the Whingers as part of their campaign for better seats at the Old Vic did ask me if I thought the seats were creaking. Either the oil can worked or I didn't notice the noise as I was too busy trying not to pass out from the heat. There is no pleasing some people I suppose but perhaps until that expensive refurbishment happens free ice lollies, suggesting audience members wear shorts and t-shirts and keeping fire doors open before the play and during interval to let the air in might help on those hot summer nights...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Scenes from Leicester Square Monday

World premiere of Sex and the City movie in London... I was in rehearsals but darn it would have been fun to be there to yell out to Sarah, "Sarah! The hat! WTF??"

Scenes from Waterloo Sunday


12-05-2008, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London.

I didn't check if there was a body in the case... In London you never can tell...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Comedy: Dina Martina



Dina at Wigstock a few years back... We were treated to the fiddle as well...


Thursday evening I was one of the "peeps" who caught Dina Martina at the Soho Theatre. Dina is part typical drag act and part something else. With a wig that looked like it was inspired by one of Liza's fights with Gest, makeup inspired by a clown, and a belly that was all his/hers, it was pretty out there (or as Dina would say, "Off the charts!")...

But as the 80 minute performance went on it was clear that there was a real character in the making and it will be interesting to see her again in a few years. Best parts were the songs with forgotten lyrics, advice on how to deal with global warming (kill or the animals in the sea as that will make the water levels drop), and the mispronounciations of words. I particularly liked the soft "g" in her segment of the show called "gifts to give" which became "jiffs to jiv"... Thanks to Dina, I will try and work that into my everyday conversation in future... 

Since most bars in London (unlike in Australia) don't have resident drag queens it was nice to see one in London, even if she was from Vegas... Perhaps a bigger audience would have helped with the atmosphere of the evening, but even with the theatre half full it was obvious there already are a few London devotees...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Movies: Iron Man


Iron Man, originally uploaded by Luffyd.

Caught the movie Iron Man on Wednesday evening as on a warm sunny evening it seemed like a good idea at the time. Besides there are not enough super hero stories set against war-torn Afghanistan (with the occasional nice shot of Miami).

While there was a lot to enjoy about it, after seeing it I had a few questions:
  • Why were there so many product tie-ins for crap products?
  • Why did Robert Downey Jr's character go for models who had too much sun and dimply skin?
  • Why do the agents from S.H.I.E.L.D look like they are from the gay mafia?
  • Did Jeff Bridges shave his head and grow a beard just to look more evil??
  • Was that final battle sequence made up of out-takes from the Transformers movie?
  • And just how the hell do you take a leak in that suit?

Monday, May 05, 2008

Bank Holiday Banter...

Man #1: Don't I know you from somewhere?
Paul: Hmm I don't know you look familiar...
Man #1: You from Australia?
Paul: I'm from Brisbane are you?
Man #1: I lived in Sydney for a while...
Paul: Oh I see that doesn't help...
Man #1: Ah man I'm sure I'll work it out but I'm buzzing right now...

Hot news this week in London...

Don't panic...

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Opera: The Minotaur



I caught the last night of the Harrison Birtwistles's new opera The Minotaur on Saturday at The Royal Opera. It is a thrilling and slightly disturbing opera (not to mention bloody too). Mind you, before the interval an elderly couple walked out. Maybe all that blood and rape and horror and gore was a bit too much for them. But that's new opera for you... At times I was wondering whether I was watching a high culture horror show (although I could have done with more blood and more realistic killings if that was the case).

The first appearance of the Minotaur (played by John Tomlinson) was a pretty dramatic moment and for nearly three hours the show didn't let up. Still, there is a lot to like about this opera starting with the music. The production design and the costumes - particularly the bulls head - were particularly creepy. The final battle sequence (depicted above) literally had everyone in my section on the edge of their seats (although that was party due to the fact we were in the cheap seats and had a partially obscured view). While the run has finished for now I suspect this isn't the last we have heard of this new work...