Very few celebrity deaths bother me. In fact, I think the last one that hit any kind of level deeper than “that’s sad, I feel sorry for their family” was Steve Irwin. But now Rik Mayall is dead. Mayall was involved in a surprising amount of movies – it wasn’t just Drop Dead Fred. From
Seconds before pressing ‘send’ on the original version of my newspaper column this week, the news about Philip Seymour Hoffman broke. At the moment, we know very little, other than he was found in his home, and it’s suspected he died of a drug overdose. Over the coming days there are going to be thousands
Alright, here we go, my top 10 films of the year. It’s time for the annual onslaught of tweets and emails telling me that I’m too stupid to live.
As usual, my top 10 list is entirely subjective and in no particular order, and if I was doing a top 50, your favourite would probably be in there. But there are only 10 spots, so like Nick Clegg deciding on whether to force a smile by pinching his leg or biting the inside of his cheek, tough decisions had to be made.
Sometimes one scene is all it takes to elevate a film from being an also-ran to a sure-fire member of my coveted Top 10. And so it goes with Captain Phillips. Paul Greengrass’ true-life tale of ship captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) as his vessel is boarded by pirates moves along slowly, but is always tense, and Hanks’ final scene is some of the best acting of the year, if not ever. I can’t not mention Barkhad Abdi as Musa, one of the pirates, whose lack of acting experience only makes him more impressive.
I wrote this for a newspaper last year, when my local Blockbuster – which I had worked at for few years – was closing down.
With today marking the closure of the last remaining UK stores, I thought I’d share it…
The Rob mentioned in the story went on to manage another Blockbuster store. Yesterday he turned the lights off there for the last time.
This weekend, the book closed on what had been quite a large part of my life.
After 22 years, Blockbuster in Canterbury has closed its doors, ready to be smashed into pieces in preparation for a new hotel with too few parking spaces.
For many, I expect it was just another video shop, but the big blue store by the crossroads always meant more to me.
Ever heard of the Bechdel test?
Don’t worry if you haven’t, chances are you’re going to hear about it a lot in coming years.
For those of you that haven’t stumbled across it before, the Bechdel test came about due to a comic strip by cartoonist Alison Bechdel (hence the name), and it lays down three simple rules that decree whether a film is gender-biased or not.
1. Are there two or more female characters with names?
2. Do they have a conversation with each other?
3. Do they talk about anything other than men?
Sounds straightforward enough, but it’s surprising how many of your favourite films will not pass the test. The original Star Wars trilogy, the Lord of the Rings films, and all but one of the Harry Potter films fail. Of course, they aren’t exactly festering with misogyny, but they do not pass the test.