Friday 15 April 2011

Happy Birthday Charlie, We Love You

He was just another kid. London was different then. Poverty was rife. And he didn't know his Father, and his Mother had mental problems. 

People see Chaplin as a genius who appeared overnight. But the work began when he was just a kid. He loved to perform. His training was his difficult life, and the discipline of performing consistently as part of the The Eight Lancashire Lads and then as a Vaudeville performer. His first moment on stage was as a five year old, and his first film contract was in 1913 -- so he had nineteen years of learning his art, of practising his trade. These days we want to be discovered the minute we make a YouTube video; but back then, you learned. And you struggled. 

He knew everything about performing, and about comedy. And when you watch his films, you realize he knew more about life, and love, than pretty much all of us. 

The world is different now. We anticipate "Scream 4" and "Fast & Furious 5", and we carefully make and market films as products for specific audiences. 

Chaplin represents a different idea. And 122 years after his birth, we're still waiting for someone else like him.

And if I'm honest, I hope we'll never find them.

Care to share?

Thursday 14 April 2011

Kid In The Front Row Arrested

The incredibly talented and world famous film blogger who is rumoured to have dated Scarlet Johannson, Natalie Portman, and numerous unattractive extras from his own projects, was arrested tonight after an unexpected bloodbath in a local cinema, a crime which is utterly unacceptable unless you've been sitting through a Ben Stiller double-bill.

The blogger and famed womanizer began the night suspiciously at the ticket booth when he yelled abusive language at the cinema worker. He was about to be kicked out of the building but after much arguing, the video footage proved that the ticket seller had been "hovering around behind the counter pretending to be unaware of the sixteen people waiting in line."

The Kid In The Front Row, who surprised onlookers by making a rare appearance without a Hollywood starlet by his side, erupted again shortly after, due to being charged 14.99 for a small popcorn and 7.25 for having his ticket stub ripped in half.

Staff were relieved when The Kid took to his seat, as they know from previous experience that he gets immensely engrossed in the movies, or in the arms of iconic sex symbols in the back row.

The Kid, eager to watch a film in the absence of an A-list babe by his side, was incensed, if not inflamed (near to the point of combustion) when two separate people had what can only be described as the 'Blackberry Flash of light', which has already been reworked on Twitter as the 'Blackberry Flash of death' after the film blogging hero, who is often compared to Brad Pitt, bludgeoned them to death with the sharp end of his ripped ticket stub, before quietly turning their Blackberries off.

The other cinemagoers were apparently confused for a few brief seconds but were drawn back to the screen by a subtle piece of product placement when Leonardo Di Caprio, who is not unlike The Kid in terms of looks and talent, said "my, this Coca Cola sure is sweet," during a nineteen second close-up of a coke can in 3D.

It was just after this moment when two old ladies, who possibly witnessed the invention of the film camera back in their teenage years, made the fatal error of whispering softly and sweetly and cutely and caringly to each other for no longer, but also no less than, about 34 minutes, on the topic of whether Di Caprio was a Nazi during the war.

As The Kid In The Front Row glanced their way, his attention was also drawn to the kissing couple to the side of him whose kisses were unusually loud, as if they were were in a Foley effects recording session. At this precise moment a cinema employee came in. The Kid hoped this was to deal with the unruly noisemakers but it turns out he came into the screening because it's the only place in the building to get a good phone signal.

And then The Kid In The Front Row snapped. Of course, industry insiders had always feared that the Blogger and filmmaker, whose strength and abilities had been labelled as "a young Arnie with the coolness of Bruce Willis and the power of The Rock," would one day snap.

The Kid In The Front Row brutally killed all the cinemagoers and many staff, but it is hoped a jury will give him some leniency as he did stay for the credits.

Care to share?

Mort Sahl On Movies

"The old movies were made by people that liked what they were doing."

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Wednesday 13 April 2011

Ice Cream

Life is about magic. I'm convinced we know this as kids which is why we leave the sun on and go running around with pretty girls as we stampede towards the ice cream van because if we don't make it in time we might just die.

Being an adult is all about finding excuses for not running after the ice cream. If you're lactose intolerant then fair enough, but for the rest of us - what exactly is our problem?

Life ends.

It stops.

There's no more.

Why even risk the chance of not creating your art. Remember when you were eleven and you stayed out later than you were meant to? Remember when you and Laura rode your bikes over to the hill where smoke was rising from the old haunted mansion? You'd ride so fast, desperate for adventure. Desperate to know life wasn't decided already.

And at some point something in life makes you realise you're not meant to ride your bike anymore. You're not meant to go exploring unknown places with your crazy friends.

One minute you're thirteen and insane and the next you're thirty eight and bored.

That's where art comes in. You get to play. You get to feel again. You get to take risks. Nothing is decided and you can be anyone.

It's not pretend. It's who you really were before the world told you to get good grades and find a job and marry up. It's who you really are.

Every film is about someone throwing off the chains and deciding to be free, or about disregarding the inner oppression and choosing to love again.

Films aren't just fairytales or mythical nonsense. They're the parts of ourselves that get discarded and left on the scrapheap.

Make your Passion project. Do it any way you can. You'll get to play. You'll be running after an ice cream van.

Care to share?


You still get that little buzz. Silly, really, because they don't make them like they used to. But once in a while they do.

Once in a while they do.

And you let go of everything. The family dispute, the troublesome body symptom, the bill you can't afford to pay. And you wait for the curtain to part. You hope for something special.

You forget the review you read in Empire, you put aside the blogger who projected all their misery and depression onto the movie in the form of a hateful review, you brush it all aside. The IMDB score doesn't matter. The box office doesn't matter. This is between you and the film behind the curtain.

They may have hated it in New York. It may have been a failure in China. But its never been screened in the room you're in to this specific audience at this exact time. Something completely new is about to happen.

There's a voice inside you that's ready to trash it. Ready to think it knows better. And there's someone in you who wants to analyse it; turn it into a review, turn it into a rant when you see your friends. But that part of you doesn't love movies, it just loves being right. You turn it off and the lights come down and for two hours you give yourself over.

This could really be something.

Care to share?