Archive for the WATCHED Category

Putting the Nuts in May

Posted in LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA, WATCHED with tags , , , on May 2, 2010 by echostains

Nuts in May

It’s May Day when I’m writing this, but the 2nd of May when you shall see it.  Now what can I post for May Day?  I thought.  Something to do with the Queen of the May?  Something about the distress signal Mayday?  Then I thought of the 1976 film  ‘Nuts in May’, where two ‘hippies’  go camping with hilarious results.  The film was written by Mike Leigh and starred Roger Sloman as the self rightous Keith and Alison Steadman as very serious Candice Marie. 

Keith puts this lawbreaker in his place

One of my favorite bits in the play is where Candice Marie is singing with her guitar about the perils of eating meat.  There’s one line in there ‘Liver makes me shiver’ which really makes me laugh out loud!  Unfortunately, I can’t find a clip of that song, so the ‘zoo’ song will have to suffice.  There’s some marvellous lines in ‘Nuts in May’ – one of them about smoking ‘If I could take your lung out Ray – and put it on the table and cut it in half….. then you would see the damage… (words to that effect).  I had almost forgotten about the purple hot water bottle  shaped like a kitten, that Candice Marie calls Prudence…   Alice Steadman is famous for a lot of roles, especially Abigail’s party (also penned by Mike Leigh) and as Mrs Bennet in the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice.

A plot summary of the film is here

film clip by ruffledme

A very good review of this film and analogy is written here –  on this blog, and has some good images

Watched – Bunny Lake is Missing’

Posted in LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA, WATCHED with tags , , on April 29, 2010 by echostains

Bunny Lake is Missing

I’ve had this DVD for some time, and watched it once a long time ago.  Last night I decided to re watch it.  It’s a very strange atmospheric film.  It stars Laurence Olivier, Keir Dullea, Carol Lynley, Martitia Hunt (the original Miss Haversham in David Lean’s ‘Oliver Twist’)  Anna Massey and Noel Coward among others.  This 1965 film has been billed as a psychological drama, a mystery thriller and was written by John Mortimer, Penelope Mortimer, based on a novel by Marryam Modell.  It was directed by Otto Preminger.

Carol Lynley (Ann) in Bunny Lake is Missing

  It tells the tale of Ann an  American single mother and her daughter Bunny.  They have just moved to London and after enrolling Bunny in school, Anna leaves the girl under the Cook’s care because she has to meet the removal men.  Later when she goes to pick the child up – there seems to be no record of her ever existing.

Laurence Olivier as the Inspector

 The story gets more and more baffling.  Ann’s Brother Steven, (Keir Dullea) a journalist, lends a hand, filling the police inspector (Laurence Olivier) in with details.  An old woman in the attic of the school who plays with the taped voices of children, a dollmaker with a house of dolls and the odd fact that Bunny is also the name of Ann’s imaginary childhood friend are just some of the baffling ingredients of this film.

Anne and Noel Coward

Poor Ann – no one believes that she ever had a daughter.  No one seems to have ever seen her (including the viewer, I may add)  apart from her brother Steven.  Another odd character in this film is the weird landlord, sleazy, nosy and creepy and played by Noel Coward – a strange fellow, but the least of Ann’s worries. 

Keir Dullea (Steven)

   

 Music by 60s band The Zombies provide the background music. This film has now reached cult status even though it had bad reviews at the time of release.  It was re released on DVD  2005.  A very unusual 1960s film, eerie and haunting.

About the director and this film here

Keir image from here

Spray it with art!

Posted in ART, DESIGN, WATCHED with tags , , on April 25, 2010 by echostains

Theres something so relaxing in watching an artist at work.  There are all sorts of artists and all sorts of ways of painting.  Everyone has seen graffiti and knows about the use of spray paint.  But I thought that this way of using the paint was a bit more unusual.  I don’t know which paper the artist is using, but it must be incredibly durable.  The music is by Neu by the way.

Close encounters of an unusual kind

Posted in BOOKS! DEAR READER I READ IT, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA, period drama, WATCHED with tags , , , on April 14, 2010 by echostains

 For reasons which will become clearer if you look on my Bookstains’ blog, I have included these clips.  Mysterious eh?  Life is full of these little synchronisations (and where there isn’t, well what’s the harm in helping them along a bit 🙂

You may ask (though it’s more likely you won’t bother, as you just know that you will get a long-winded answer) which came first – the Bookstains piece or this post…….  Well it was the Bookstains piece.

Here’s Mr Darcy, Minding his own business, looking perfectly at home  in his Pemeberely estate….until he spies Lizzie….  

  

Women are always dreaming about houses: past houses, future houses, dream houses, better houses.  Unfortunately I can’t find a clip in english of the first time that  (why has the new Mrs De Winter  no name?) first sets eyes on Manderley – so here’s her escape route from her odious employer Mrs Van Hopper:-  

And now here’s another encounter (well, more of a re encounter), I have just heard that there has been a remake of the Science Fiction series ‘V’ (2009 actually).  The first part is being shown tonight.  It’s hard to believe that this series dates back to 1983 – which seems like yesterday!  I used to love this.  I have the DVDs of the original but haven’t played them for such a long time.  I just love everything about ‘V’, the story, the dramatic acting, the shapeshifting aliens, the fabulous corniness –  just so entertaining!  I wonder if this new version shall be as good though…..  I can only hope that any changes shall enhance the original – and I will try to keep an open mind.  I still remember the shock of the alien Diana eating that mouse – can the horror be bettered?  

meet the aliens

Dancing in the Blog

Posted in ART HISTORY, DESIGN, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA, WATCHED with tags , , , on April 12, 2010 by echostains

 

They tried to make him go to rehab - he said NO NO NO..

I was in two minds to put another dead body in this post.  But then I thought  – what am I thinking of???  It’s such a beautiful day and the evening promises to be beautiful and I’m not working tonight, and no, I wasn’t going to go out…but it’s the last day of my Husbands holidays…and I thought oh…go on then.  Then I thought ‘Must have more culture, must have more culture on this blog…’  Then it came to me, what could be nicer than some ballet!  What could be better than the partnering of two of the great dancers of all time – Dame Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev!

I’ve also wrote quite a bit about Dame Margot’s quite tragic life in my post here.  Some lovely pics too!

Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn

The skeleton figurine is from here

Painted Ladies

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, WATCHED with tags , , on April 5, 2010 by echostains

I came across this fantastic video of women who inspired artists to pick up their paintbrushes up and paint.  Women have always acted as muses for artists and the idea of the artist’s model is usually synonymous with women – not men though Michelangelo and perhaps Caravaggio are a couple of exceptions.

A lot of the women remain anonymous in the sense that their name has not been used in the title of the painting.  Titles like ‘The Madonna of the Carnation’ by Leonardo say nothing about the real identity of the sitter.  She is transformed into a Madonna forever.

Madonna of the Carnation Leonardo Da Vinci

French impressionist Pierre Gustave Renoir (1841 -19191) painting ‘Two sisters on a Terrace’ in 1881.  This is a very well-known picture but it was a long time before it was established who the actual sisters were. 

two sisters on a terrace Renoir

 Expert Francois Daulte established that the older girl was Jeanne Darlot, who was eighteen at the time of the painting.  She joined the Theatre Gymnase and acted in comedies in supporting roles.  She had some success and was photographed for newspapers.   After her début at the Comédie Française she quit the stage and became the kept mistress of a chocolate manufacturer and later a senator.  She never married.

martyr of solway John Everett Millais

The Martyr of the Solway is a famous painting by Pre Raphaelite John Everett Millais.  The martyr in the picture is after a Margaret Wilson who refused to recognise established  Church of Scotland because she was a member of the Free Church.  The painting shows Margaret chained to rocks on the Solway Firth.  She and her friend were condemned to death by drowning in 1685.  The brave woman sang and quoted defiantly from the scriptures, her hair floating around her like a halo. 

martyr of solway xray

Millais had painted this portrait in 1871, originally the figure was nude (as a later  X-ray showed) but was later  ‘clothed’ so it didn’t offend the staid Victorians. I think this model is Lizzie Siddal, wife of Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

 

Salvador painted Raphaelesque Head Exploding in 1951.  the model is Gala his wife.  he never seemed to tire of painting her and likening the protons and neutrons that are exploding from her head as Angelic forms:-

Salvador Dali Raphaelesque Head Exploding 1951

“there are residues of substances; it is for this reason that certain beings appear to me so close to angels such as Raphael and Saint John of the Cross. Raphael’s temperature is like that almost chilly air of spring, which in turn is exactly that of the Virgin and of the rose.” Ant he adds solemnly, “I need an ideal of hyperaesthetic purity. More and more I am preoccupied by an idea of chastity. For me, it is an essential condition of the spiritual life.”

Apart from some commisions and a few famous models we may never know who a lot of these women were, but through through their portraits their beauty lives on and will never age.

   For a complete list of the women and who painted them click here and all shall become clear!

Renoir information here

Martyr of Solway at the Walker Gallery Liverpool here

Elizabeth Siddal biography here

Discovered and Uncovered – Underwater artist Zena Holloway

Posted in ART, ART DISCOVERED AND UNCOVERED, ART VIDEOS, PHOTOGRAPHY, WATCHED with tags , , , on March 26, 2010 by echostains

Beautiful underwater photography by Zena Holloway

I’m coming across some very unusual and amazing artists  in the course of research for my blog.  Yes. you’ve guessed it – it’s time for yet another category!  Some of these may not be new artists to you – but they are to me, hense the title ‘Discovered and Uncovered’.  It is not my intention to go into the artist’s life story – just to give a glimpse into their work and hopefully inspire someone.

a water baby by Zena Holloway

Zena Holloway b. 1973 Bahrain now lives and works in London.  She started off as a scuba diving instructor and eveloped an interest in underwater photography.  Her work has appeared on adverts, in films and magazines.  She recently completed a two year project based on Charles Kingsley’s ‘Water Babies’ which featured real babies swimming underwater.

the queen of the fairies by Warwick Goble

Who doesn’t love the tale of young Tom the chimney sweep who falls into a river and becomes a Water baby.  The illustrations of this 1863 by several illustrators are beautiful – no wonder Holloway was inspired by them!

Swan Songs

Watch some of her work here in this short video – so beautiful, graceful and poetical.  There are a few of her videos on Youtube which feature lots of her work – including the Water babies.

Zena Holloway’s website here

Beautiful illustrations of the WaterBabies by several illustrators here

PS  My latest poem  is called ‘Acrostic Alphabet-ish’ here

Watched -Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland

Posted in ALICE IN WONDERLAND, period drama, WATCHED with tags , , , , on March 13, 2010 by echostains

A new grown up Alice

I got to watch Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland in 3D the other night.  I’d never seen a film in 3D before, so didn’t really have a clear idea of what to expect or what to compare it to.  I’m also a big fan of the Alice books, so I was hoping that I wasn’t going to be disappointed.

Drink me at your peril

Alice (played by Mia Wasikowska) is now nineteen penniless and Fatherless.  She is in line to marry an upper class buffoon, but is preoccupied with visions of the white rabbit and dreams of Wonderland.  It seems that she has some unfinished business there.  A party is held to cement the engagement (it seems a forgone conclusion that Alice will accept, given her circumstances).  Everyone waits with bated breath to hear Alice’s acceptance. Unfortunately, the wayward Alice catches sight of the white rabbit again and speeds off after it, down the rabbit hole and back into Wonderland.  Here Alice shrinks and expands with much alacrity – and good effect.

the brave Hatter – mad of course

Wonderland is not as she left it though, there has been much trouble since Alice the child left.  The nineteen year old Alice has grown up and is accused of losing her muchness by all and sundry.  In fact she has a job to convince everyone that she is indeed the original Alice.  Everyone seems madder including the Hatter (played by Depp with suitable madness).  Tweedledum and Tweedledee are both Matt Lucas – only much rounder.  the Bandersnatch is made much of (probably because he is linked in the Jabberwocky poem).  The Jabberwock itself is horrifying and hideous and rather dragon like.  Therefore there an inevitable George and the Dragon scenario ensues with Alice as St………Joan not George.  Curiouser and curiouser…..

Tweedle dee and Tweedle dum double trouble

Wonderland and Looking glass collide and we have the caterpillar stoned out of his very blue head and Dinah the Cheshire cat a wispy vaporising vision.  Watching this in 3D, I was amazed when this grinning feline seemed to come right out of the screen and into the audience!  It seemed so near that you could almost touch it.  There are a few of these little projections – but not too many to spoil the film.

the grinning cheshire cat

I’ve never seen anything in 3D before apart from ‘life’, so I didn’t know what to expect.  But overall I found the film quite entertaining.  Some of the special effects are great and I especially like the way that the Victorian Alice proved herself independent in her thinking.  The story itself left me dissatisfied though and perhaps this was because it is childhood tale taken into adulthood – an adult in a childs world.  Maybe this was deliberate on Burton’s part, to make Alice seem ungainly.  As it is, Alice doesn’t really fit into either world – Wonderland or her real life.

the Red Queen

Bonham Carter is a spoilt nasty cruel little Queen, the exact opposite to her sister the white Gaga like queen who is frankly, just ‘odd’ and a little to like Glinda the good queen out of the Wizard of Oz for my liking.  Yes, there is some Lewis Carroll in this film, but I think in order to avoid disappointment, accept that though there are various components and characters from the books – this is no fairytale or literal translation of Carroll’s books.  once you have accepted that, it’s time to put your 3D glasses on, lie back and enjoy this film!

her sister the white queen

Some images HERE