What We Did On Our Holiday – absolutely brilliant movie

What We Did On Our Holiday

What We Did On Our Holiday

Every so often you see a movie that really exceeds your expectations. It happened to me today.

I thought “What We Did On Our Holiday” was going to be a light fluffy piece and I mainly wanted to see it because David Tennant (the artist formerly known as Dr. Who) was in it. I like him and I like his presence on screen.

Well, it was much more than light fluff. I was really affected by it – I cried lots (as did the people around me in the cinema) and I laughed out loud (very loud!) lots. It is a movie that works on every level. The casting is brilliant – even down to the three children in it. Billy Connolly was superb and even Celia Imrie in a tiny role was incredible (has she ever been anything less that incredible – I remember seeing her years ago in “Pat & Margaret” and thinking she was amazing). The two leads, David Tennant & Rosamund Pike are warm and natural – they feel real.

The scenery of Scotland was just beautiful – kind of makes me want to go there and check it out. And it really was a case of laughing uproariously one minute and bawling your eyes out in the next. I came out of the cinema feeling like ‘yes, this is what justifies the whole movie making business!’ Because it is a really positive life-affirming journey that is just a cut above anything similar. Perhaps it is the fact that it was made in Britain rather than America that gives it this quality – think of ‘Pride’, ‘Four Weddings & A Funeral’, ‘Educating Rita’ and about a thousand others over the last 30 or so years!

It was terrific to see it in a V-Max cinema with brilliant picture and sound – it really added to the experience – particularly the Scottish scenery.

I’d really like to get everyone I know to see it. Some of them may be too cynical to let the story cut through their cynicism – but I reckon most of them will have a similar reaction to me.

What We Did On Our Holiday is just a bloody good film – I am so glad I saw it.

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Who on earth would want to harass poor Dottie Hinkle?

There are classic scenes in movies and there are CLASSIC SCENES in movies.

Oh, and “Damn these designers!”

Thank you John Waters, Divine and Edie.

Blown away by “A Single Man”

A Single Man...mindblowing!

Yoda and I went to see “A Single Man” yesterday. It’s been a weekend of movies actually – we also saw “Up In The Air” today which we both liked.

But it was “A Single Man” which really blew us away and which continued to stay with us long after we left the cinema. I woke up about 4 times last night and each time my first conscious thoughts were about the movie. Still trying to process it.

It is very rare that I find a film stays with me like that and refuses to leave my consciousness. It was just such an amazing experience on so many levels – the cinematography, the colours, the story, the acting and not least, the music. The soundtrack is incredibly evocative and feels like another character in the movie.

Much has been said of Colin Firth’s acting in “A Single Man” and I can only agree. It is so restrained, almost suffocating – yet we’re always aware of the battles and struggle being fought inside.

I can’t even imagine what it would be like to live as Gay man and be in a long term relationship back in the early 60s. And to have your lover, your life partner of 16 years die so instantly and tragically and to not be able to tell people about it. Not be able to get the support that would automatically be offered if you were in a heterosexual relationship. I guess there are some people around the world who are still in the same position almost 50 years later – but I just can’t begin to fully understand living like that in 1962. It would make living in Sydney’s western suburbs in 2010 feel almost cosmopolitan!

This movie is an incredibly beautiful film – from the use of colour (or lack of), the period sets, the way the camera is used – the close-ups and off centre shots. It just all comes together amazingly. It is a film that both Yoda and I came out of the cinema saying “I need time to process that.” And I’m still processing it.

Just describing the storyline and saying the acting is first class doesn’t do the film any justice. I felt as if it was a movie I “experienced” rather than simply watched. Does that make any sense? Probably not. 🙂

If you are thinking about seeing it, please do so at the cinema – it will just lose so much power on a TV or computer screen. To really experience the full visual magic of “A Single Man,” you’ve got to see it at the movies.

I know it is a movie I want to see again but I need some time before I do that. It is still spinning around in my brain and my central processor is overheating trying to take it all in! 😉

The clip below is just a promo shot of the movie and a few minutes of the music playing. I’ve had this on repeat all last night and again this evening. I want to buy the soundtrack CD but of course it isn’t released in Australia at the moment. F****** record companies.

Older n Last Time – a little movie gem from Aussie-land

From the Australian movie "Older n Last Time"

There’s still one good thing about the very tarnished Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras – and that’s the Film Festival put on by Queer Screen.

As usual, this year I’d circled about 10 movies I wanted to see at the festival. And, as usual, session times, logistics and vagueness on my part saw me attend only a few of the screenings I’d circled. Sometimes you can catch up with what you’ve missed by buying the DVDs when (if) they are released, but not always. And anyway, there’s always something special about seeing a queer film with a totally queer audience.

My BFF Yoda has joined me up to Queer Screen as a Christmas present so hopefully I’ll get to attend more screenings and stuff throughout the year.

One movie I was absolutely determined to see, was “Older n Last Time.” I’d seen the trailer for the film and it just grabbed me. I now know that the trailer is the worst thing about the movie. The trailer makes the film look a bit tacky and amateur – completely opposite from the reality. “Older n Last Time” is a gem, an absolute gem.

It is a follow-up to a movie shown at last year’s festival, “Damaged Goods”, which has been shown nowhere else apart from that screening last year. It is also not available on DVD and doesn’t look like being released in the near future. Neither does “Older n Last Time” so I am so very glad I got to see it at the festival.

Look, this is a privately funded movie made as a labour of love by the writer/director (who was present at the screening). It’s sooo Australian in many ways – and that is part of its charm. It was filmed around the Surry Hills/Darlinghurst areas of Sydney and you can see locations and places you know in real life. My friend James absolutely loved that aspect of it.

Centering on an older Gay couple who have fostered two children (who are now adults) and the craziness of their day-to-day lives and those of their extended family. Of their two – now adult – foster children, one is straight and the other is Gay. They’re both going through their own dramas and throw into that, the idea that the (formerly drugged out) mother who abandoned of one of them, now wants to re-establish contact.

Of the older couple, one of them is bored and now wants to foster another child while his partner is dead against it. Reasoning that they’ve done their bit and now it is time for them to enjoy life with a world trip or similar activity, he tries to dissuade his partner with glamorous travel brochures and plans – but his partner is having none of it.

There’s a lot of activity happening in the movie – it’s a bit hard to sum up quickly. And, as I said, the trailer is not reflective at all of how special this film really is. I walked out of the cinema on a high. I loved the characters, I loved the story and I loved being part of their world for short time. The Director said that there is a possibility of a third movie to complete the trilogy and I will be hanging out for that one – I want to spend time with these characters again.

The most disappointing thing is that “Older n Last Time” and “Damaged Goods” have not been screened anywhere else – and possibly won’t be. They’ve been rejected by Gay & Lesbian film festivals around the world. Which makes me think again that we Gays are our own worst enemies these days. Oh, and it also makes me think Gay & Lesbian Film Festival Directors are a bunch of card carrying c*unts!

“Older n Last Time” deserves to be seen by a much wider audience and it certainly deserves a DVD release. When you think of some of the crappy Gay DVDs that have been spewing out from America in the last few years, then “Older n Last Time” certainly deserves to be on a DVD and sold via the usual channels.

If you get a chance to see this movie, wherever you are in the world, please take the opportunity. It’s a priceless bit of a feel-good charm from the land down under.

There’s no-one left to fly the plane!

There's no-one left to fly the plane. However I have complete faith in Karen Black

Just a tribute to a wonderful actress and a personal favourite of mine, the incredible Karen Black.

Love you Karen!!!

Nordic Film Festival starts today

The first Nordic Film Festival has started. Yoda, James and I are seeing a number of films this weekend including the legendary ONCE IN A LIFETIME / Livet Är en Schlager. Session times are on http://www.dendy.com.au or direct link: http://www.dendy.com.au/event_detail.asp?Event_ID=437

Nordic Film Festival in Sydney - be there!

Nordic Film Festival in Sydney - be there!

Oh, and they’re here too. Dendy Opera Quays – hint, hint, hint. Hope to see you there people!

Session Times - Nordic Film Festival - Dendy Opera Quays

Session Times - Nordic Film Festival - Dendy Opera Quays

Livet är en schlager comes back to Sydney: Screw you SBS!

Livet är en Schlager / Once in a Lifetime

Livet är en Schlager / Once in a Lifetime

I am as happy as a pig in shit! I’m so happy I could just shit!

I just found out that there’s a Nordic Film Festival coming up in Sydney next month. And they will be showing ‘Livet är en schlager’ also known as ‘Once in a Lifetime’ in English.

This is a fabulous movie that blew me away at the Sydney Gay Film Festival a few years ago. It’s Swedish and all about Melodifestivalen – the Swedish competition to select their entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. Melodifestivalen is unbelievably huge in Sweden – it’s a television competition that has multiple heats and a huge finale.

Ever since I saw the movie I prayed that SBS TV – Australia’s Multi-Cultural Television channel would show it on Australian TV. After all, it wouldn’t cost them much – the subtitles have already been done and that’s usually a big part of their costs. But did they show it? No, of course not. SBS are shit. They now have TV commercials as well, despite being Government funded. I’ve been hoping the Government cuts them off completely, makes them go fully commercial and they go bankrupt. And I’ll be having a party that day.

47 hours a day of soccer broadcasts mixed with the Russian newscast and 1/2 hour documentaries about peasant life in Kreplochia, that small fishing nation wedged between Estonia and Latvia. Endless French and Chinese movies where everyone ends up either depressed or dead or both. But expecting one life-affirming Swedish comedy to be played? Forget it. And now they’ve cancelled South Park on Monday nights. I hate SBS. It’s like flames on the side of my face….

Anyway, in Livet är en schlager, the lead character Mona is obsessed with Melodifestivalen and schlager music in general. She is a care-worker who looks after a guy with cerebral palsy. He writes the perfect Melodifestivalen tune, she writes the words and enters the song in the competition. And then all hell breaks loose!

This woman is so Melodifestivalen-obsessed, she even named her 4 children after famous Swedish schlager artists: Lena Ph, Carola, Kikki and Anna Book. Yoda and I pissed ourselves laughing at this when we saw the movie – most of the audience had no idea what was going on at this point.

The movie has fabulous cameos from real Swedish stars like Jean-Pierre from Army of Lovers and the real Carola of course. As a confirmed Swedophile and Melodifestivalen tragic I just ached for this movie. I came out of the cinema on another planet. I immediately began a search for the video/DVD and the CD soundtrack.

I got the CD soundtrack from Sweden but all searches for the DVD led to the same result: it was released with sub-titles in four languages…but none of them English. I gave up searching after realising it just wasn’t going to happen. Earlier this year, on holiday in Stockholm, I finally broke down and bought the DVD…without subtitles. I watched it when I got back to Oz but it just isn’t the same without subtitles…my Swedish is very, very basic.

For a long time I scoured the SBS program guides hoping to see it listed. And Yoda also checked Foxtel’s international movies channel. Nothing, nada, nil. So SBS can burn in hell – wish my taxpayer dollars weren’t funding it.

Anyway, today Yoda calls me and tells me there is to be a Nordic Film Festival at Dendy Opera Quays and Livet är en schlager / Once in a Lifetime is to be shown. I screamed! I can’t wait.

Here’s a bit of the opening of the movie which has some  gratuitous shots of Stockholm – that’s like porn for James, Yoda and me!