I arrive in Dublin city every evening after a day spent in the wastelands of county Dublin. Each day I walk past the ten screen Savoy Cinema, and throw a glance at the neon display showing the schedule, just in case there is anything that piques my interest and is about to start. Very occasionally something does. Today was one of those days. Continue reading Cinematic: ‘Boy Erased’
Yesterday afternoon I attended a screening of the John Waters film ‘Polyester’ in the New Theatre in Dublin. Starring the ‘Godzilla of drag’ Divine, this 1981 film marks the bridge between Waters’ earlier thrashy exploitation films (‘Multiple Maniacs’; ‘Pink Flamingos’; ‘Female Trouble’) and his more mainstream work (‘Hairspray’; ‘Cry-Baby’; ‘Serial Mom’).
In Polyester, Divine plays an obese, suburban housewife named Francine Fishpaw, whose husband runs a dirty-movie theatre; her son is a sex-offending foot-fetishist; and her daughter wants to drop out of school to become a go-go dancer. When her husband leaves her for his secretary, Francine becomes an alcoholic. Hope finally appears on the horizon in the form of the hunky Todd Tomorow (played by former matinee idol Tab Hunter). All is not what it seems though. Continue reading The mystery of David Lochary
For my edification I went to the cinema last night to see ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in the eerie Odeon cinema at the Point (the cinema operating from the top floor of an abandoned shopping centre. This is the biopic of Farrokh Bulsara – the Parsi boy from Tanzania who moved with his family at the age of seventeen to Britain. He reinvented himself as Freddie Mercury, became the lead singer of Queen and conquered the world of music as one of the most talented and charismatic rock singers of all time. The film opens with Freddie pumping himself up as he readies himself to go onstage for the most iconic live performance of his career – Live Aid in Wembley Stadium in 1986. Continue reading Better out than in: Freddie Mercury and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody ‘
Thanks to the inclement weather, a walk in the park seemed unwise. A decision had to be made. I was not going to loll about the house like a sack of meal that Sunday afternoon. I put on my stylish anorak and headed outdoors. My first stop was to the coffee-shop near my house, where a caffeine-infused warm beverage (a coffee) was drank). Over the river I trotted. I was walking past Pearse Street Station on Westland Row when the skies opened. Into Saint Andrew’s Church I went for shelter. That’s one of the functions of a church I think. I was reading the history of the church on the plaque on the wall (built in 1832, three years after the Catholic Emancipation Act which legalised catholic churches, it is quite a splendid building in that gaudy catholic style). I was admiring the interior when a Polish priest approached me and told me that the church was closed. I departed. Continue reading Sunday, bloody Sunday
One of my advisers informed me that the British Film Institute has an online media player, which contains a database of British films. These can either be rented or viewed for free. He then sent me a link to a film contained on the site, called ‘Roll on four o’clock’ that he thought I might appreciate. (Note that I do not use the word ‘enjoy’ for reasons that will be explained momentarily). Released in 1970 as a TV drama as part of ITV’s Saturday Night Theatre, ‘Roll on Four O’Clock’ was written by Colin Welland (who ten years later would win the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for ‘Chariots of Fire’). Set in an all-boys working class school in Manchester, the film concerns itself with Peter Latimer – an acned teenager who is the subject of homophobic bullying, because he’s not like the other boys. The all-male teaching staff are no support. With the exception of art teacher Max Fielder (played by Clive Swift, who’s better known as Richard Bucket – Hyacinth’s long suffering husband in ‘Keeping up appearances’) who tries to protect him from the machinations of his teachers and fellow pupils; and who tries to nurture the creative instincts of the boys. Fielder is an outsider also. Continue reading It’s grim up north: ‘Roll on four o’clock’
About a year ago, through work I obtained four cinema tickets, for five euro each, to be used at any one of the Odeon Cinemas. As the weekend was the start of the Fringe Theatre Festival, you might guess that I would not be at the pictures, as I’d be watching a live show. You’d be wrong. After our exertions with ‘Mother’s little treasure’ I am currently enjoying a mini-hiatus from theatrical pursuits. It’s only temporary but the break is needed. Continue reading Cinematic: BlacKkKlansman 47
Yesterday evening I fell down a YouTube rabbit hole and ended up watching the horror film ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ from 1991. The film was directed by Jonathan Demme and was based on the book of the same name by Thomas Harris. Had I been actively seeking the film then I would never have found it. Being a classic, the copyright holders are quite stringent in who can access the work – people who pay for the privilege essentially – and constantly remove clips that breach their copyright. Continue reading Fava beans and chianti: ‘The Silence of the Lambs’
Currently in preview at the Gate Theatre is the stage adaptation of Roddy Doyle’s book ‘The Snapper’. The official opening is on Wednesday 20th June. Theatrical etiquette rules that reviewers don’t review plays until opening night. Preview shows are intended to allow the director and the cast to iron out any last minute issues with the play. I am going to ignore that rule – for the simple reason that I paid full whack for my preview ticket (no freebies for regular audience members). As the show I saw, was the fourth preview performance, if they are not about 99% stage ready by this point then they never will be. Continue reading Theatrical: ‘The Snapper’ at the Gate
I have just watched ‘What ever happened to Baby Jane?’ What a riot. These days it is a cult classic, with a back story equally as fascinating as the tale being told onscreen. It is a psychological horror /thriller starring Bette Davis as ‘Baby Jane’ Hudson, and Joan Crawford as her sister Blanche. Blanche Hudson is a paraplegic, 1930s film star, being cared for by her sister ‘Baby Jane’. Baby Jane is somewhat eccentric – attired in gaudy make-up, and a dress and hairstyle more in keeping with her time as a child star. She is now a fifty-something, decrepit alcoholic, poisoned by bitterness and jealousy that her disabled sister is having a career comeback thanks to her old films appearing on television. In fact Jane is losing the very few marbles she ever possessed. Continue reading Cult movie time: ‘Whatever happened to Baby Jane?’
The dank, miserable evenings of the first week of January are perfect for summer holiday films. Watching golden, glorious sunshine is no match for the real thing – that is certainly true. But it reminds you that we are in the countdown to spring already. Even though it is only a fortnight since the shortest day of the year, almost imperceptibly, the daylight hours are stretching. Hope is on the horizon.
A 1950s summer romance film set in Italy, is a treat for the eyes. Continue reading 1950s cinema: ‘Summertime’