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Saturday, 28 May 2011

Attack The Blog

1. The Hangover 2 - For once the critics are right. This is just the first movie all over again. The first one was hilarious, but this is just the band regrouping for a greatest hits tour. The setlist is the same and the magic is gone.

But it's beautifully shot and there are worse things than two hours with these characters.

2. Champions League Final - Barcelona are unreal. Lionel Messi makes football an art. It's hardly worth the other team showing up.

3. Frankie & Johnny - I watched it again, it's too good. You can just feel their pain. And their love. It's a great journey, and it's meaningful. You bring your own bullshit into this movie when you watch it. Michelle Pfeiffer is beautiful. And she's a great actress.

4. What Women Want & Helen Hunt - This is interesting to watch now, knowing what Mel Gibson has become.

There are so many actors in this who you'll recognize. It's a great cast, no weak links. I love Alan Alda.

But it's Helen Hunt who is special here. When I finished this film I was desperate to watch 'Cast Away', just to see Hunt in those final scenes again. I didn't have time to watch it, and still haven't, but it's on my mind.

And I guess that's why people become actors. If you're good, you reach the heart. Helen Hunt is one of those rare actors who I'd watch in anything. There's something about her that is quietly heartbreaking and endearing. There's something in the little smile she does, you know the one I mean? It's just so uniquely her personality, you feel like you know her. It's like the sarcastic raising of the eyebrows with Hanks, or the confused Downey Jr look, before a wisecrack. It's these little personality traits that you come to know. It's what turns movie stars into people who feel like us.

Helen Hunt had a great run through the nineties until some time early this millennium. Then what happened? We need her on screen more.

5. Attack The Block - Saw this in the cinema today. It was great fun! Aliens land in a South London estate, and a local gang, comprised of 15 year olds decide to deal with it.

It's crazy. But a joy to watch, because it has a realness to it. It's how the kids around here talk. The film entered their world and gave them a platform. A crazy platform, but it was a joy.
Jodie Whittaker is a huge talent.

There was no bad acting in this film.

My friend turned to me halfway through and said "you should have written this", and I wish I'd thought of it, because the concept is hilarious.

6. Genre - I think the problem with genre films is that half of your brain shuts off. At the beginning, you think you're watching the best film ever. You get hugely excited.
But when you're locked in a genre, the plot will eventually have to conform to it. Decisions aren't based on character, they're based on "how can we get the killer to find the knife without the wife seeing him."

When "Attack The Block" started today I was SO into it. The characters were hilarious, the jokes were great. But then the genre took hold-- and you find yourself losing some kind of thread.

I'll figure out what the hell I'm talking about and re-approach this topic soon.

7. London - I was standing outside Leicester Square station yesterday, waiting for the lead actor of my movie. It was to be a day of casting.

I paced up and down, by the station, feeling a bit disgruntled because our casting efforts hadn't been very productive of late. And the theme music from "The Apartment" came into my headphones. And I looked at the Theatre across the road, and wondered what wonderful actors had graced that stage, and how many stories had taken place inside there over the years.

I was overcome with good feeling. It felt as if the spirit of art had visited me. I felt good, is what I'm saying.

Casting went well.

8. I have a clean reading slate. Tomorrow I will start a new book, exciting.

9. We need to be genuinely excited when we can. It's hard, because we forget. I was telling an actor friend this at lunch the other day: so often I'm walking around with 'stressed' as my default mindset. It just happens.

There's no reason for it most of the time.

10. I wrote the other day about how Tupac and Anne Frank were great because they knew they were going to die. It was the same for Bill Hicks. After he knew he was dying he amped up his routine, his message.

And yesterday I watched a Steve Jobs commencement speech from Stanford University. He said he always lived as if he was about to die. And then he got cancer and really was about to die. This guy invented Apple and Pixar.

When you're about to die, the excuses are bullshit. Bill Hicks says "it's just a ride". Opportunities we're scared of. Women/men we never ask on that date. Phone calls we keep delaying. We die. What are we waiting for?

The thing about living like you were dying, is that you can't just throw out your responsibilities. But most of the time it isn't about that. It's just about following up on an email, or making sure you sit down and write the damn scene.

For gazillions of years you and I didn't exist. And eighty years from now, once again, we'll be hurtled into non-existence for countless millennia.

We get to stumble around this rock for 80 years, if we're lucky. What rules are worth keeping? What work is worth doing?

Care to share?


  1. Helen Hunt was really good in What Women Want. I really liked her in the show Mad About You too. She should make more movies.

  2. My son keeps telling me I'm going to die, but I think it just makes me more aware of the time I spend with him than anything. I wish it made me more creative as well.

    I don't really want to see The Hangover 2 because you can tell from the preview that it's one of those sequels that recycles all the same jokes. However, since it's got Bradley Cooper in it, I'll probably see it anyway. He's a stud.

  3. I don't quite get why people are complaining about The Hangover 2 being the same as The Hangover, the sequel made me laugh a hell of a lot more than the original did, there were numerous moments where I had to wipe the tears away from my eyes. And since when did a sequel being a rehash of the first film become such an automatic bad thing? I've yet to meet anyone that doesn't love the Back to the Future series.

    I still need to see Attack the Block, looks awesome! Watched a documentary on this on Film4 the other night and the more I see the more I really want to see it! Love the fact that he went and used people in suits for the alien rather than CGI, more films need to do this CGI makes me cry sometimes :'(

  4. I haven't seen the first Hangover and it's unlikely I'll watch the sequel but I've watched Frankie And Johnny countless times and it always makes me think and feel very deeply.
    I often feel that I'm a lone voice when I post about this film so it's great to hear that someone else appreciates Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer's wonderful acting!
    Thank you Kid.

  5. I saw the first one and yes it was rather funny, but the jokes just are not my thing.