Archive: Harry Potter

The Bechdel test fallacy

November 22, 2013   -   1 comment   -  
Jennifer Lawremce in Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire passes the Bechdel Test. Good news. You’re allowed to watch it.


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.

Interview with Scott Bates, director of horror movie The Tapes

October 14, 2011   -   1 comment   -  

Filmed in Kent by director Scott Bates, The Tapes is a horror in the tradition of The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity. However, 39-year-old Scott Bates’ film career couldn’t have started in a more unlikely place.

“Do you remember the TV series Pie in the Sky?” he asks. “My first job was being a runner on that. Then I got really lucky though and landed Alan Parker’s film Evita (starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas). I was only supposed to working on that for two weeks, and ended up working on it for 10 months in Argentina and Hungary and all over the place.”

Poster for horror movie, The TapesNow a freelance assistant director, Scott has worked on the Harry Potter movies and continues to be asked to work on big-budget Hollywood productions: “I was recently asked to do some work on Clash of the Titans 2, but I was busy on Waterloo Road so had to turn it down. Working freelance is a rollercoaster of a career. One minute you’re having to seriously budget for the supermarket, and the next you’re in a 5-star hotel in Thailand – it does take some getting used to! That’s why I’m now going it alone, so I don’t have to rely on other people, and the dream is to make two or three films a year in Kent.”

The Tapes is the first of these Kent-based films, and was shot in and around Whitstable and Tankerton by Scott, who lives in Rochester.

“Kent is such an untapped area for filming,” he says. “London is overused and has shot itself in the foot by making filming so difficult and expensive. Filmmakers are tired of the landmarks of London too so it’s a great time for Kent to step up and bring some more work in.”

The Tapes wasn’t a solo project though, and was co-directed with Lee Alliston, another Kent filmmaker who owns the farm on which the majority of the film was shot. Lee Alliston has an equally varied background in TV and movies. He has worked on a number of Bollywood films, and also worked on Band of Brothers and Brad Pitt thriller Spy Game.

My Top 10 Christmassy Christmas Films

December 11, 2010   -   1 comment   -  

First, a disclaimer: you will almost certainly not agree with everything on this list.

In fact, some readers may not even class a couple of these films as Christmas movies at all, but here’s the thing; these are films that make me feel Christmassy. How does Christmassy feel? I’m not entirely sure, but let’s just say, happier, more tolerant and less hate-filled. So, here are my top 10 Christmas films.

Love Actually (2003)

Bill Nighy in Love Actually

Mawkish and saccharine, but Christmas is a time to let all that slide. Against all the odds, Richard Curtis’ Love Actually makes it into my list by virtue of being unashamedly romantic, sentimental, funny and touching; all held together with an unmistakeably British sensibility.