50 years on II

Another film celebrating its anniversary is the animated Yellow Submarine. The BFI had a special showing at the NFT which was well attended, though we had to dodge the red carpet do for Incredibles II.

if you have never seen this film, you should. The story is a bit thin, but the art, the animation, everything is ground breaking.

I always look upon it as a celebration of the 60s. There are bright, psychedelic colours, strange ideas (like the monsters), off-the-wall humour, art references and of course, Beatle music.

The beginning is stunning. Pepperland is a place of love, positivity, flowers. The Blue Meanies come and stomp on everyone to greyness. Young Fred is sent for help. The scene setting in Liverpool and Eleanor Rigby are quite stunning. Sadly, this clip does not do it justice.

See it if you can. Suitable for all ages,

Many of the animators went on to produce The Snowman, etc.

50 years on I

Two significant films are celebrating 50 years this year. 2001: A Space Odyssey is one.

I have written loads about this in the past, and will surely come back to it. It is interesting that Christopher Nolan has been let at the film to improve it somehow, you know, like Giles Martin or Steve Wilson remix records to make them better.

Some people have said things have been changed, or removed, others say not. So I was interested to see the BFI was showing a 70mm print at IMAX. Last time they tried to show a 70mm print, they found they had no suitable projector at the last minute, so I did’t go and I didn’t get my money back either. This is a film that deserves to be seen on the big screen with proper film.

OK, it was not very expensive, but I came away more than disappointed, actually cross. I wrote to the BFI. No reply, of course:

Hi, I came to see 2001 in 70mm at the IMAX on Wednesday. I just wanted to say how disappointed I was with the quality of the print. There was a blueish tint, it was scratched and dirty, there were numerous jumps (presumably where the film had broken and was badly repaired) and there was a weird ticking or buzzing that meant the quiet bits weren’t quiet. And, to top it off, the “THE END” title had been chopped off and there was a new one in a different font then a long advert for Warner Brothers. Not good…

Still not seen the ‘new’ version.


I know there are people who love Ayckbourn and his type of play, whatever that may be, and other writers who do similar things. At the Park Theatre in London is another of that kind, Monogamy by Torben Betts.

It’s another dysfunctional family/kitchen drama, where a family get together and all the secrets that have hard, maybe for years, all come out together. I know, like real life, ok?

It is supposedly set in Highgate, just up the road, and seems to be about a chef, loosely modeled on Delia Smith, a religious, drink loving woman who can chop carrots like there’s no tomorrow.

There is the son who comes home and reveals he is gay (that’s not a spoiler. As most things in this play, it is signaled from the very beginning). The chef lady has been having an affair with the handyman, and his wife comes, steals a large knife which was discussed at length as being super sharp and then is left in the centre of the stage so we can see for sure when she takes it. So, you know someone is going to get it.

The husband comes home after playing golf. He constantly talks about another player who has just had a heart attack on on the course (so you know what fate awaits him)

Supposedly shocking pictures of Mrs Chef falling from a taxi while tipsy are being posted in a newspaper. No big scandal, you would think, but it is here. Anyway, by the second half of the play, the character has almost no more part in the play – she sits on the floor and looks drunk.

There’s lots of stuff about religion. Am not sure why.

Parts are funny. Well, you laugh, because it’s a relief to be able to. There’s a bit of swearing, to no purpose, and drug taking.

To me it was a confused mess. The long speeches about the state of the country were contrived and meaningless, some of the acting was poor (this has been on tour for months, so how can actors still fluff their lines and get the names of other characters wrong?), the second half is very shouty and, even with two 55 minute halves, it drags. Surely one 90 minute play would have been more than enough (my companion remarked that the theatre was probably desperate to sell you a cold drink on a hot day).