Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Black Book, and the Space Virus

Fucking space virus. Again, to clarify for new readers, it's not a cold/flu/whatever - it's a mutated alien space virus, which roams the galaxy seeking out unsuspecting folk like me. Every time I get it, I actually die and am reborn, it's the only way to shake it off. Bastard thing. I wish I could be shrunk down, somehow injected into myself, so I could find it and beat it the fuck up. It was fast this time, too. Monday morning, felt fine. 11.30am, thought "hmm, I think I might be coming down with something". Five hours later, I was in the midst of a full on attack of Spacius Virusesius (Latin for Space Virus), bunged up nose, streaming eyes, sore throat, cough, shakes, and mild madness (that last one is normal though).

Tuesday I stayed in bed, until the evening, when I dragged myself out to see Paul Verhoeven's new masterpiece, Black Book. No way I was missing seeing the man himself in person. It's a fantastic piece of work, layered, complex, no easy answers, and devastatingly harsh. All the actors excel themselves, the script is superb, and Verhoeven seems to have found himself again after getting slightly lost in the past few years. The Q+A was great fun, Mr V was in very good form as usual. They opened it up for questions from the audience, which were all good, except for some fucking idiot who decided to deliver a long speech about the movie that wasn't a question, but ended with a slightly upraised tone...? So that it sounded like a question...? But wasn't really one...? The audience were clearly annoyed with the guy, waiting for him to just ask a bloody question, but he wouldn't shut up for ages. People like him just enjoy the sound of their own voice, and all they want to hear from the filmmaker is "wow, you're absolutely right, what a fascinating insight, come and work with me in Hollywood, here's millions of dollars". Listen: it's a Q+A, they never last long, it might be the one chance we'll all get to hear the guy speak, we are NOT here to hear you talk about yourself, so shut. The fuck. Up. Also (while I'm on the subject of idiots at Q+A's), don't ask questions that would require a 20 minute answer, like "what do you think of the post 9/11 themes in Asian horror as it pertains to their culture?", and don't ask a "quick question" that is actually a multipart question with 78 questions jammed in.

I'm ill, I can rant if I want. Anyway, masterpiece, Verhoeven back on form, fun Q+A, apart from Film Theory Twat. And everyone was great at my Severance Q+A's, they asked cool, fun questions that I could answer, thankfully. So I'm not talking about you. But you, there, at the back - yes, you. You're naughty.

Thoroughly enjoyed Torchwood, was worried that the curse of Spin Off-itis might have struck it, but it works really well. I like the setup, I like the cast, the characters, the writing, the direction, very happy and relieved. Very interested to see where it goes from here. Everyone else is pitching their oar in about Robin Hood, so I don't need to, and I'm sure you've all made your own minds up. What I will say though, is that nothing could ever beat one of my favourite movies, Errol Flynn in "The Adventures of Robin Hood". Made in 1938, it's massively good fun - it's got tights, grown men slapping their thighs, hearty laughing, hissable villains (Claude Rains! Basil Rathbone!), non stop action (stunt men wearing padding were paid to take arrow hits in the chest, in the archery tournament a championship archer splits the 2nd arrow FOR REAL, with no trick camera shots), witty dialogue (-"You speak treason" -"Fluently!"), and probably the best final showdown between hero and villain ever committed to celluloid. All that, and it's in Technicolour, too. Historical accuracy is one of the first casualties of the evil Prince John, but if you haven't seen it, you're really missing out.


Optimistic_Reader said...

Irritating people at Q&A's delivering long speeches that aren't questions are one of my absolute favourite things to rant about. I'm impressed there was only one at this event, there's usually more. I'm always silently hoping that at the end of the pretentious ramblings, the person being questioned will just give them a one word answer. Preferably a negative one.

Danny Stack said...

I was a teen when I saw Errol Flynn as Robin and I sat down thinking, 'this will be naff', and ended up saying, 'christ, that was good'.

Jools said...

So would you say it was better than Showgirls then?

Amanda said...

Well, I have to say that since the first paragraph all I can think is 'Innerspace! Whoo, crappy/genius eighties films rock!' And, ok, so he wasn't shrunk and injected into *himself* because, hello, paradoxes galore - but he was was shrunk and injected to someone and...

...whatever happened to The Shrunk Guy? It must have been all downhill after Innerspace. As for Dennis Quaid? Enemy Mine was better than Innerspace. He was already headed downhill.

Hmm. Questions that aren't questions? Just higher at the end? You mean aussie-itis? We all got it back in the day when Neighbours was all the rage. Everything was a question. EVERYTHING.

Oh, Errol Flynn as Robin Hood? Despite my inate boyishness, that's just one step to far into boydom... *trails off*

I'm very tired.

James Moran said...

O_R: I was worried I'd gone too far, but decided I didn't care. I just wanted to shout "ASK A QUESTION! OR DIE!", but my iron self control saved the day.

DS: Me too! Brilliant fun.

Jools: Much better. Although it doesn't have a spinning sex scene in a swimming pool, so drops 3 cheese points.

Amanda: Girls are weird. But they have naughty bits, so that's okay. But Enemy Mine is a bad, bad, wrong movie, here's my summary:

-I hate you!
-I hate you!
-I have a grudging respect for you!
-God, life is shit, eh?
The End.

Innerspace has Quaid, dancing, Robert Picardo, Kevin McCarthy, and a man being digested inside another man. What's not to like??

Dom Carver said...


Bugger, it's spreading.

Errol Flynn, my arse! The best Robin by far was 1984's original Robin of Sherwood, Michael Praed. And what a theme tune...Robin... Robin... Robin....the hooded man.

Good Dog said...

Sounds like a typical NFT Q&A. (Assume it was the NFT. If not, I don't care). Or there's always some fecking numpty who talks about themself in the question, because no matter now famous or important you up on stage are, really it's all about ME! Worthless tosspots.

Ah, the Robin Hood debate. Loved the apology from the TV reviewer in The Guardian who suggested it was a good new series and, after three episodes of dialogue clunkier than a 1970s seatbelt, decided he was wrong.

Well, you're half right. Yes, Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood is the very best. But it's also good to accompany it with Richard Lester's underrated Robin and Marion starring Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn. Everything else is unnecessary. I discard them!

Chris (UK Scriptwriter) said...

What’s going on?

My wife has a baby, I can’t touch a computer through lack of sleep and when I do come back the first two blogs I look at have changed. Have I come back to a parallel universe? Perhaps some impostor is sitting in my universe with one child looking at blogs I would find familiar.

Anyway, I really liked Torchwood. To me it is way better than Dr Who (although the Doctor’s hand makes a tacky cameo appearance) and liked the fact that it is aimed at more of an adult audience. Then I heard someone on the radio describe it as:

“A tacky, camp version of the X-Files”

Then I thought he may have a point. I’ll watch again tonight hoping I still like it :)

Marion Crawford said...

Hey there. I'm studying film production right now and I thought I would do a story about your success as an independent film writer. I am also am an entertainment writer for a local paper. I have a blog with some information about me if you want to take a look.

Dom Carver said...

Oh, so it's the Doctor's hand. I did wonder. Thank you for that, Chris.

Chris (UK Scriptwriter) said...

It made sense to me that it was the hand he had chopped off when he was having that fight on the space ship.

I could be wrong, it has been known. I think I was wrong once in 1993 ;)