Becoming a parent changes you and your relationship with your partner. True as this is, banal statements of this kind say little about what fathering is like and do nothing to prepare you for the riot of emotions that go with the job.
NYC-based photographer Phillip Toledano‘s The Reluctant Father goes a long way to addressing the reality in humourous and ultimately touching way..
He likens confronting the fruit of his loins to a series of close encounters with an alien being.
His experience was all the more traumatic because, as he freely admits, “I was never particularly interested in having kids”. It was just something that happened. Continue reading
A TASTE OF HONEY directed by Tony Richardson (UK, 1961)
Shelagh Delaney’s unsentimental view of procreation puts the hearts and flowers romance of Valentine’s Day into proper perspective : “It’s chaotic – a bit of love, a bit of lust and there you are. We don’t ask for life, we have it thrust upon us”.
Lines like these help explain why A Taste of Honey retains its contemporary edge more than half a century after it was first performed.
London’s National Theatre are about to stage a new version to bring the play’s honest, down to earth characters to a new generation of theatre goers.
No prizes too for guessing why Delaney was such a formative influence on the young Steven Patrick Morrissey.
Labelling A Taste of Honey as a ‘kitchen sink realism’ might lead you expect a mundane and bleak drama. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a play (and movie) that fizzes with energy and humourously challenges popular preconceptions about so-called ’ordinary’ working class lives in Northern Britain. Continue reading
BLUE JASMINE directed by Woody Allen (USA, 2012)
Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) hits rock bottom.
In 1980′s Stardust Memories, the autobiographical character Woody Allen played complained “I don’t feel funny. I look around the world and all I see is human suffering”.
Despite this, he has mainly continued to make comedies which, of late, have been little more than sentimental travelogues like Midnight In Paris and To Rome His Love.
In other words, he seems to have become resigned to the idea that people go to the movies to escape the stresses and suffering of the real world.
In the cinema in London where I saw Blue Jasmine the pre-publicity included a montage of clips with the tag-line “leave reality at home”. This invitation to enjoy the guilt-free two hours of pure escapism seemed a little at odds with the censor’s straight-faced warning of “mild references to sex and suicide”. Continue reading
“Voice characterization by Mel Blanc” – this is the credit that always fascinated me as a kid growing up on Looney Tunes cartoons like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester & Tweety, Yosemite Sam and Foghorn Leghorn.
Where were the other names, I thought?
When it was revealed that all these voices were actually by one man, I was dumbstruck. The range and versatility is so amazing it doesn’t seen possible.
Someone described Mel Blanc as a method actor for cartoon characters which is a good way to put it. He gave a unique personality to all the parts he gave voice to. Continue reading
MONKEY BUSINESS directed by Norman Z.McLeod (USA, 1931)
After two movies based on vaudeville shows, Monkey Business was the first Marx Brothers film written specially for the big screen. It’s included on the syllabus of the The Language of Hollywood Coursera MOOC to show how, with the coming of sound, many films of the 1930s were not dependent on innovative auteurs but relied on the ability of the players to generate the entertainment.
Effectively, this means that the director’s job is reduced to simply pointing the camera and relying on the timing of the performers.
The Marx Brothers had honed their comic skills on Broadway and knew exactly what audiences wanted, as is proven by the huge success of this movie.
Theirs is the essence of situation comedy with the specific situations here being a ship, a high-class party and a barn. Most of the action takes place on board an ocean liner where the four brothers are stowaways. Continue reading