Monday, 30 June 2014

Rob's Glastonbury 2014

​What did you do this weekend? I ended up driving 500 miles to spend just 48 hours on holiday. In previous years I would have said to my boss 
"Sorry about your meeting - THIS weekend, I'm busy. This weekend is my highlight of the year"
Here is someone who did the right thing last weekend - sent direct from Worthy Farm.

Rob's Glastonbury 2014

Text Message 26/06/14 13:16
The festival starts.  Awaiting the downpour mess tonight but good today. Have Rum-based buoyancy aids- will survive.

Text Message 26/06/14 20:28
Already seen some great passed out bodies! Dry tonight, wet tomorrow. Camper van method definitely rocks - borrowed my neighbour's van !

Text Message 26/06/14 20:32
coldish cider and an eerie to retreat to.. Awaiting Kate Tempest on stage in the Common..

Text Message 26/06/14 20:55
Metallica vs. quiet shit in Avalon - Beth Orton , Icelandic emiliana torrini. Head says quiet, heart says bear 'huntin Metallica. Dead cert is the after midnight choice wobble to 808State then Todd Terry then home to cocoa and medals..

 Email  27 June 2014 04:19
 Leon's vegetarian stall.
 What a night.
 Bed time.


Email 27 June 2014 17:14
In no particular order...

  • Kate Tempest - flipping awesome angry rap poetry
  • Donating items to random strangers..
  • Guilty Pleasures - all the kids dancing to tunes popular before they were born. And us.
  • Obligatory Flamethrower machines
  • Ros' Queue jumping techniques - varying effectiveness.

Breaking in to the Rabbit Hole (actually quite boring) private party only to wave from the inside at Ros still trying to jump the queue - getting thrown out, then repeatedly breaking back in and pursued by the harassed but reassuringly polite security guard - this became ever increasingly hilarious (for me) as the cat and mouse chase game escalated.

We were quite drunk by then.

Meant to go home at midnight - 4am finish in the end.

More tonight..

Email 28 June 2014 15:20
West Holts field but pear cider place is now something else..

... And they say Glastonbury is becoming gentrified. Goodness - my crisp Australian Rose wine accompanying the lobbie was warm. You'll be glad to know I'm still slumming it!

Text Message 29/06/14 18.13
The Horrors are very reminiscent of Psychedelic Furs.. Off to see Brian Jonestown massacre next

What was best?

Text Message 30/06/14 18.02
No further good food after the lobster - just top ups. Sunday was fine BJM I think was my highlight along with a couple of hours in the Peoples Front Room with a band called Bombs. London Grammar good - sort of worth the wait to get right to the front.

Photos and text copyright Rob Sanders 2014

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Any Given Sunday review : England beaten by Oliver Stone, Al Pacino and Cameron Diaz (but mainly Uruguay)

World Cup 2014: Japan fans clear up stadium litter after opening game defeat
How can you not love the international celebration of national diversity that is the world cup?

This World Cup is so fantastic:
upsets, goals great games - it has even the Americans watching it.

The only group en-mass left actively resisting the call of this wonderful world wide celebration of human variety seem to be middle aged British women, and if they are as sick of the World Cup as much as I am sick of hearing them complain about it I'm going to remain single at least for the foreseeable future.
Thank god The Great British Bake Off only happens once every four years (?)

If there is more to your life than baking British cakes and you want to react against the World Cup in an original, positive way, while learning something about alien cultures and pastimes without having to deal with a round ball - here is an option.

Uruguay's heroic defeat of England last week was fueled apparently by a viewing of an old Oliver Stone movie almost unheard of in this country.

Any Given Sunday is Oliver Stone doing to America's favourite sport what he did to American democracy (in JFK), The Green Berets (in Platoon) and TexMex conservatism in Natural Born Killers. It's another agonised evisceration of a treasured cultural icon, in this case American Football. I have to assume it is because of our usual disregard for the sport that this classic movie with an all star cast and crew is virtually unknown in the UK.

The cast members I didn't recognise when I first saw this movie are all A-listers now. You'll see a young Jamie Foxx, Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, James Woods, Aaron Eckhart and best of all a firebreathing Cameron Diaz, as toughgirl tomboy team owner Christina Pagniacci - her blazing confrontations with coach Pacino are one of many highlights away from the sporting action itself.

I've struggled to get friends into this movie because it is American football (those those that have watched it loved it). We mock American ignorance and disregard for soccer, to have the same attitude toward the highly evolved North American variant of rugby is hypocritical. Stone's dazzlingly choreographed game sequences convey the uniqueness of a sport controlled directly from the bench via headsets. (The crux of the movie is Jamie Foxx changing the coach's tactics on the field).

Unsurprisingly given some of the content, the NFL actively worked against the production of this movie and Stone and co were forced to create their own alternate football league to cover the sport with a frankness and honesty not seen yet in any other sports movie. The treatment of injury and drug use are particularly powerful.  James Woods, as a gleeful team doctor, seems to have strayed off a Cronenberg film.

The level of grit and honesty is comparable to The Wire, and aside from the sporting angle this is has a realistic and honest attitude to race without the preachiness you would expect from a film tackling the subject directly. Inserts from Ben Hur (and a cameo from Charlton Heston) make the allusions to slavery and gladiatorial combat explicit.

This is one of those movies that could be set around Crown Green Bowling and you would still watch it. The level of imagination and dynamism in the editing makes Scorsese's Raging Bull look like  a 1970s BBC Play For Today. Stone obviously shot weeks of controlled chaos and constantly incorporates multiple viewpoints making it difficult to tear the eyes away (I know this, I've just been trying to do my accounts and I've seen the movie 4+ times now).

perhaps you don't want an alternative to the world cup, and just want an insight into the source of the powerful team ethic that allowed a team of half fit journeymen from a small country to beat a "team" of millionaires from the nation that invented the sport.

Pacino's speech IS a cracker.

Friday, 20 June 2014

​Godzilla 2014 and the Gravitas of Hefty Guys

I tried, i really tried not to comment on this years Godzilla after last years insanity over Pacific Rim - when I got half way through reading the novelisation for Pacific Rim that really did feel like mental illness kicking in. I STILL love that movie though I have come to accept others don't :-)

I am not going to going into detail on Roland Emerich's 90s Godzilla for fear it will turn into a vast venting of spleen (as happened with Dredd and followed my blog on Stallones Judge Dredd) suffice to say I wasn't impressed at the time.

It is useful to compare both America takes on Godzilla because in both cases the trailers contained material not in the eventually released movie, and in both cases the trailers were better than the eventual film.

One of several teaser trailers for the 1998 Godzilla was set in a museum, and was entirely absent from the eventual movie

Similarly the first absolutely bonechillingly teaser for Gareth Edward's latest Godzilla, with famous quote from Robert Oppenheimer, contains shots of a dead upturned kaiju (Gamera?) which didn't appear in the movie

In fact both cases the pre-publicity over the American Godzilla has been a major feature - in 1998 it was almost a year of hype meant to undermine and riff on recently released Jurassic Park (hype for Godzilla 1998 was so out of control it was spoofed in the opening scene of Micheal Bay's Armageddon!)

Pre-publicity for Goldzilla 2014 is an absolute masterwork, with the first teaser (above) shaking the halls of a surprised Comic-con and the first real trailer featuring the HALO jump set to the Ligetti music from Kubrick's 2001 hitting the internet like a bolt of lightening.

I liked Godzilla 2014 a lot, but can understand some of the negative reaction. One of the faults of the Godzilla 2014 trailer is the prominence given to an actor, Bryan Cranston, who barely makes it half way through the movie. Other mainstream critical reaction to the human element of this new Godzilla film is quite amusing.

There is little human drama and interaction in Godzilla 2014? What a shame - <scarcasm> that was the best thing about Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla </scarcasm>

The job of actors in these movies is to react appropriately and convincingly to the spectacle. Ultimately the effects crew do a great job in making a 300 foot tall monster convincing but it is the seriousness or reactions against that which make it really believable. Cranston has got a lot of deserved credit for his performance but I also appreciated small but citical contributions from serious actors such as  Ken Watanabe, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins and David Strathairn.
I like Mathew Broderick generally but didn't miss him in this instance.

One thing Star Wars fans should be very happy about, Gareth Edwards handling of actors is spectacular. I highly recommend Monsters, his first film, which gets better with every viewing.

Anyone complaining about lack of action in Godzilla should have paid money to see Pacific Rim instead of giving it to Adam Sandler movies. Godzilla 2014 is so close to being a direct prequel to Pacific Rim you'd think they were made by the same studio (they were - Legendary Films)
The weird world of Pacific Rim is essentially that of this Godzilla movie but 20 years on and without Godzilla - both start with attacks on San Francisco,  and Pacific Rim even mentions use of nuclear.weapons in first battle with a kaiju in San Francisco. This makes Pacific Rim a historical counter factual to Godzilla 2014 - how would a world of gigantic monster attacks develop WITHOUT Godzilla?

Pacific Rim Pacific Rim Pacific Rim
I'm off again
It's a kids film, at very best Star Wars to Godzilla 2014's 2001

One strange comparsion made between Pacific Rim and Godzilla is on scientic accuracy - Pacific Rim got quite some flak on how possible it was to have Jeagers and Kaiju physically moving around (as opposed to collapsing in a blob under their own wieght) but that seems entirely absent from Godzilla. An admission from the effects crew that the tip of Godzilla's tale would be moving so fast it would break the sound barrier only adds to the awe somehow. There is no moment of questiong how scientifically plausuble this could be, his entrance is such a self evident mind shock it is just accepted as real and beyond normal understanding or explanation.

No-one questions the physical likelihood of something like Cthulhu and this hints at another clever route this new iteration of the character is taking.  Godlike beings from deep below the Earth and before the  beginning of life as we know it? this is all very Lovecraftian - except that Godzilla is (so far) benign.

Effects crew and direction obviously add to this. According to Wired Gareth Edwards had mentioned to his effects crew he was only asking 900 shots when the Hollowood norm now is 200+. The effects crew had replied that his effects shots go on way way longer than normal (almost slomo compared to a Micheal Bay film)

First reveal of Godzilla is an endless tracking shot upwards, and with the brilliant sound design of the roar it made my blood run cold. Fascinating that effects crew abd director have gone right away from the 1998 lizard design back toward a bulkier tradtional design for Godzilla, essentially using £200 million dollars of CGI and Andy Serkis to recreate the effect of a man in a suit

The size and shape of the new Godzilla has provoked some reaction as he is obviously a hefty gent. ​One of the few scientific questions raised about the movie has been 'What does he eat?" - as he seems only interested in physically abusing the MUTOs. One things for sure, whatever Gareth Edwards Godzilla eats, he eats a lot of it.. and lets just for once enjoy a hero that isn't just happy with his weight, he's happy to throw it around for the benefit of the greater good​.

I'll get some exercise

<Thanks 2014 England team for being so lousy I rescued this from the bin to cheer myself up>

Modesty Blaise driving a cloud with a silver lining (with Goldfrapp soundtrack)

Turned over from the England game last night to find a radio 4
adaptation of Modesty Blaise

With an original score by Goldfrapp's Will Gregory!