I’ve never really been into comic books. The closest I came was Beano and the occasional sneaky peak at my sister’s stash of Judy and Bunty. Nuff said. I saw Kick Ass tonight, a spontaneous choice as Alice In Wonderland was not showing, and I’m glad I missed Tim Burton’s apparently flawed film for something that, well, kicked ass.
There have been hypocritical moans from the media about the extreme violence, especially when coming from a foul-mouthed 11-year old girl. I personally found Bugsy Malone quite violent and there wasn’t an ounce of blood shed. Call me peculiar. Its a thoroughly enjoyable, laugh out loud film from Matthew Vaughn and, aside from the more obvious laughs, its full of equally sidesplitting in jokes. Take, for instance, lead character and wannabe super hero Dave Lizewski, played by Aaron Johnson. A regular high school teenager. A little bit goofy but in a cute way. Not too far from Aaron Johnson himself, who in real life is engaged to the artist Sam Taylor Wood, about twenty years his senior. The classroom scene where Johnson fantasises about his middle aged teacher’s (who also happens to be English) ample bosom is absolutely hilarious on two levels. (a) It is funny. (b) It is funny because its a self-concious wink-wink at the reality of now pregnant Taylor Wood and Johnson. Milfs and Twinks.
The room that leads to bad guy Frank D’Amico’s (Mark Strong) office is like a miniature YBA retrospective. It’s full of artwork (real?) by Damien Hirst, Gavin Turk and co. Then there’s that poster of Claudia Schiffer, Vaughn’s wife. I think this self-referential approach is the film’s saving grace. It feels very personal. As for little girls with guns, well, Leon, anyone? Kill Bill Lucy Liu sequence? Nothing new here. It is a violent film but in a super-exaggerated way. Just like a comic book. The Britney Spears outfit on the oddly cute Chloe “Hit Girl” Moretz is another example of how Kick Ass cleverly dips into popular culture.
The idea of normal civilians becoming super heroes isn’t totally new though. Who remembers Condor Man? Shame on you if you do!
Fractured. This is my favourite piece of cinematography. Hands down.
Nicolas Roeg’s 1973 chiller “Don’t Look Now”, starring Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland, is a study in restraint. I like the way the story unfolds gently, gaining momentum towards a creepy climax which, despite its now comedic impact, induces giggles of the nervous kind. The film stays with you for a long time. Its in parts love story, tragedy, murder mystery and horror movie, all this set mostly in Venice! I rank it amongst my all time favourite films.
I don’t normally look to film for inspiration but there’s definitely meat in this one. Visually alone there’s a contrast between the faded grandeur and slight seediness of Venice. Water is a leitmotif throughout, from drowning, rain and the canals, as well as the colour red. The red coat of a dead child. The use of red reminds me of Almodovar or M. Night Shyamalan’s “Sixth Sense”. The film is famous for the love scene which is interspersed with shots of Christie and Sutherland getting dressed_
Julie Christie glows throughout the film. Her fragile beauty is unbreakable amidst all the gloom and sadness. She also sports a natty piece of tailoring in one of the scenes. The sleeve head is a feat of engineering and bears a resemblance to those Christophe Decarin made famous at Balmain a few seasons ago. The proportions are perfectly judged and I like the lean silhouette and how the jacket is paired with a dark roll neck.
The scenes I found most creepy were the more suggestive ones that hinted at something darker . For instance, the one involving the elderly sisters that start off being harbingers of evil but end up being guardian angels. This is perhaps one of the cruelest things I have ever witnessed on film. The younger of the two parades the elder, who is blind, around Venice wearing mismatched socks. So cruel. Mind you, the blind elder sister is supposedly psychic so she should have “seen” it coming! Very Prada, all the same_
H & M but not as we know it_
Bread & Butter, Gin & Tonic, First & Class – some pairings are just perfect. No reason for concern or to doubt their companionship. Harold and Maude is one partnership that just shouldn’t work. I remember the first time I saw it, recoiling at the idea of a teenager having sex with a 79 year old woman. It made The Graduate seem like child’s play, haha. At the same time the film was so beautifully done and the plot so engaging that I couldn’t help falling for its oddball charm. It sends out a positive message – love has no boundaries and it shouldn’t. I don’t want to give too much away just in case you haven’t seen it but its one of those films that makes you look at life in a totally different way. Thought-provoking. Cinema the way it should be. Risk-taking done with elegance and subtlety. Great soundtrack too by Cat Stevens. Harold & Maude – an unusual love story for Valentine’s Day. Snuggle up and enjoy_