Friday, 30 December 2011

The Importance of Being Earnest @ The Old Red Lion

A thoroughly enjoyable production. I had never been to the Old Red Lion before and was surprised to find that it's actually a pub cum theatre - so you can expect a very small but cosy theatre. There's no stage to speak of, the actors are just acting right in front of you, which I think is a great thing - I remember a similar setting at Hampstead Theatre (for the production .45) and it's a brilliant performance. Perhaps I really like being close to the actors...

There's no need to introduce Wilde's famous play, but of course this is a slightly modernised version of it (characters have iPhones and stuff). Despite that, it's still very much Oscar Wilde with all the witty remarks, which is perhaps why it's so enjoyable. It's a very lovely production and I'll surely be back for future performances!

Friday, 16 December 2011


Apart from the big names I don't see why this film's worth seeing at all - Michael Fassbender is good but I personally don't think much of Carey Mulligan in this one. Of course the film's about a sexual addict but I still find the sex scenes a bit excessive and too graphic - sometimes, the line between erotica and porn is really thin. I also find the whole 'plot', if there is one to speak of, quite puzzling - we never find out why Brandon suffers from this addiction and why it seems that both siblings lead chaotic lives. Brandon's especially - he has a good job, is financially affluent, lives in a nice apartment in NYC... what exactly makes him the pervert (I do think that kind of addiction makes him one) he is? His addiction is so serious he has almost lost his mind (and his sister) because of it. It's just sick - and you just find yourself seeking an explanation throughout the film and failing to find one.

BTW, I know Carey Mulligan's hot cake and all that, but her singing isn't all that great - why do we have to listen to that not-so-great song for so long? I almost fell asleep. I wanted to appreciate it but I couldn't, and when she's praised after singing I found myself asking almost out loud 'Seriously?'. Maybe it's just me... but Shame just doesn't strike a chord.

The Artist

A critically acclaimed film - a contemporary production that's a black and white silent film set in 1920s Hollywood. It doesn't feel retro - one could actually imagine it being a really old silent film. The actors are really good in their roles, especially Jean Dujardin - he's totally the George Valentin he plays who 'emits' charisma! I can see why it's popular - we can all be nostalgic sometimes and reminisce about the good ol' days.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Into the Abyss - a documentary by Werner Herzog

Into the Abyss is a documentary about Michael Perry, a death row inmate in Texas. It details his alleged crime (murder, in case you're wondering), how it affects the people around him and the victims' families, and Perry's final journey. It's not the kind of film you want to see, but I'm glad I saw it - it's thought-provoking, and the fact that it's a documentary gives you a real glimpse into these people's lives that a film based on the story wouldn't necessarily provide.

One thing I don't like about the film is actually crucial to the making of it - the interviewer, presumably the director of this documentary, Werner Herzog. I was actually struck by how stupid and insensitive some of his questions are - one (he?) may argue that he intends to prompt a reaction from his interviewees, but a lot of those questions, I think, are totally unnecessary and only show how unskilled he is as an interviewer, though of course he is a much celebrated figure in German cinema. I haven't seen any of his films, and I don't think I'll be rushing to see any after this. Into the Abyss is thought-provoking because of the subject matter (capital punishment) itself, not because of how it's treated in this documentary.

'13' @ National Theatre

National Theatre is actually not that familiar to us - we are more used to the West End theatre scene, so it's an interesting experience. I didn't know before going that there are three theatres there, and quite a lot of space in the area for people to mingle, which is what you don't get in the West End.

13 is a modern play set in present day London, and most of the characters in the play seem to be having the same nightmare when they sleep. The different sets of characters seem to be totally unrelated at first but slowly you see they're all related, as the plot unfolds. Current affairs (London riots, nuclear threats in Iran) and social networking trends are drawn on, but to be honest I still don't see what all these have to do with the common bad dream. To be honest I fell asleep when the PM and the Messiah-like John were having their long chat. I simply couldn't help it - and similarly, towards the end of the play I could hardly suppress my cough; it's just really embarrassing. Overall the play is interesting but it's way too long in my opinion - it's a bloody 2 hours 45 minutes (intervals included)!
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