Archive for November, 2015|Monthly archive page

4 reasons to go see Grandma

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Paul Weitz & Lily Tomlin at BAFTA screening of Grandma in Soho, London 29 Nov 2015

Spent this moist, sunless afternoon watching the brilliant ‘Grandma’, the best awards season movie I have seen to date, a welcome blast of old school American indie cinema. After the screening I had a quick chat with both the lead actress Lily Tomlin (Nashville, All of Me, Short Cuts) and the director/writer Paul Weitz (About a Boy, Antz, American Pie). During the Q&A I asked Paul about the source of the story – was it the issue (abortion)? the characters? or other? He said it started from the notion of a young woman without enough money to pay for the abortion she feels she urgently needs. Its treatment of the theme of abortion is refreshingly less conservative than the likes of the too mannered ‘Juno’.

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Elle (with Sage)

1. Lily Tomlin – who gives a feisty performance as Elle, a lesbian grandma who is there when her grand-daughter really needs her. Tomlin (76) has been in a relationship with her female partner, Jane, for over 40 years. Elle’s relationship and grieving for her recently deceased partner, Violet, is a deeply moving absence at the heart of the movie. Tomlin’s face is compelling to watch, unique and very particular.

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Sage

2. Julia Garner – plays Sage, the grand-daughter. She is absolutely captivating on screen, with something of the 40s/50s Hollywood studio star about her (a bit of Marilyn Monroe, perhaps a touch of Veronica Lake, that kind of vibe). She is known for The Perks of Being a Wallflower (a favourite of my young nephew Jake who has impeccable film taste) and Martha Marcy May Marlene. The chemistry between her and  Tomlin couldn’t be more perfect.

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Paul Weitz – scriptwriter (and director)

3. Paul Weitz – who wrote the excellent screenplay, really nuanced and fresh. ‘Grandma’ makes an interesting contrast to ‘Carol’ – another ‘lesbian movie’ currently doing the rounds – where, despite exemplary acting, the story is unsurprising and strangely linear.

4. The Indie Spirit – Weitz made this outstanding movie for $600,000 and shot it in 19 days. As a result he was under little pressure and the movie has a real lightness of touch and creative economy. He got the cash from a Greek benefactor and then Sony Classics picked up the finished film in the wake of Sundance.

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4 things I talked to Lily Tomlin about

  1. The joy of being a grand-parent, what a lovely relationship the grand-parent/grand-child one is, how much I’m looking forward to being one (PG, as my grandma would have said)
  2. Her grumpy grandpa and inspiring grandma in Kentucky
  3. Being born in Detroit, the city-country mix; Detroit: Requiem for a City (which she hasn’t seen yet), Julien Temple, The Sex Pistols
  4. That my grandpa, Ian Harris, would have been 100 last week; how special a man he was.
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‘Moment by Moment’ (1978)

4 things I talked to Paul Weitz about

  1. American indie films
  2. Me & Earl & the Dying Girl
  3. The abortion clinic shooting this week in the USA, how safe he is talking about Grandma in America, particularly the South
  4. Treadmill desks (as featured in the film), the office he shares with his brother, Chris (screenwriter & producer: The Golden Compass, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, American Pie), Chris’s treadmill desk.

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International Communist Zionist Conspiracy

This is the kind of moron to be found out there in the world at large at the moment. The cartoon I posted in this conversation is from the Nazi magazine Der Sturmer.

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Jewish caricature from Der Sturmer Nazi magazine

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Made in Northern Ireland: The Male Body Handbook

article from GNI (Gay Northern Ireland) 17 November 2015

GNI (Gay Northern Ireland) 17 November 2015

Behind the mask of the Stop the War Coalition

The organisation which calls itself The Stop The War Coalition posted this tweet on the night of 13th November 2015 as news of the Islamist terror attacks on Paris spread around the world.

Then they deleted the tweet which shows clearly what lies behind this organisation, because they don’t want to be open about their actual views.

They don’t want people to know what or who is at their heart but it’s important that it is preserved for posterity so anyone who thinks it’s a benign gathering of pacifists can be disabused.

tweet published by Stop The War on the night of 13th November 2015

published by Stop The War on the night of 13th November 2015

 

How to become an Islamist Terrorist in 7 easy steps

72 virgins islam

  1. Create the Other – I am one group and everyone else is different
  2. Homogenise them – everyone else is the same as each other
  3. Push the Oppression narrative – we are being oppressed
  4. Accuse them of Collective Guilt – everyone else is complicit in oppressing us
  5. Push Supremicism – we’re better than them
  6. Argue Self-defence – we need to defend ourselves
  7. Do Violence – attack is the best form of defence

Charlie Chaplin’s first love

I’ve just written and published a Wikipedia article about Hetty Kelly, Charlie Chaplin’s first love, but just in case the Wikipolice shoot it down I’m going to save it here…

Hetty Kelly

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

photographic portrait of Hetty Kelly

Hetty Kelly (1893 – 4th November 1918) was an Irish-born dancer and music hall performer, and the first love of movie comedian Charlie Chaplin.

Chaplin met her in 1908 in London when they were both performing for impresario Fred Karno at the Streatham Empire. She was with a song and dance troupe, Bert Coutts’ Yankee-Doodle Girls, and Chaplin was playing a drunk in ‘Mumming Birds’. He was 19 and she was 15. He remembered her as “a slim gazelle, with a shapely oval face, a bewitching full mouth, and beautiful teeth”. She came to be the female ideal in Chaplin’s mind and he recreated her in some of the female leads in his movies. Chaplin wrote in his autobiography, written in 1964: “Although I had met her but five times, and scarcely any of our meetings had lasted longer than twenty minutes, that brief encounter affected me for a long time.”

Hetty married a British politician in 1915, had children and lived in Portman Square, London. She eventually died in the Spanish flu epidemic that ravaged Europe in the wake of the First World War. Chaplin did not learn of her death until three years later in 1921, on a visit to England.

Hetty’s sister was musical comedy actress Edith Kelly, who married US millionaire Frank Jay Gould[1].

Hetty Kelly was played by actress Moira Kelly in the 1992 movie Chaplin produced and directed by Richard Attenborough. She also played Oona O’Neill in the film.[2]

References

And just to save the code:

[[File:Hetty-Kelly.jpg|thumb|photographic portrait of Hetty Kelly]]

”’Hetty Kelly”’ (1893 – 4th November 1918) was an Irish-born dancer and music hall performer, and the first love of movie comedian [[Charlie Chaplin]].

Chaplin met her in 1908 in London when they were both performing for impresario [[Fred Karno]] at the Streatham Empire. She was with a song and dance troupe, Bert Coutts’ Yankee-Doodle Girls, and Chaplin was playing a drunk in ‘Mumming Birds’. He was 19 and she was 15. He remembered her as “a slim gazelle, with a shapely oval face, a bewitching full mouth, and beautiful teeth”. She came to be the female ideal in Chaplin’s mind and he recreated her in some of the female leads in his movies. Chaplin wrote in his autobiography, written in 1964: “Although I had met her but five times, and scarcely any of our meetings had lasted longer than twenty minutes, that brief encounter affected me for a long time.”

Hetty married a British politician in 1915, had children and lived in Portman Square, London. She eventually died in the Spanish flu epidemic that ravaged Europe in the wake of the First World War. Chaplin did not learn of her death until three years later in 1921, on a visit to England.

Hetty’s sister was musical comedy actress Edith Kelly, who married US millionaire [[Frank Jay Gould]]{{cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Frank J. Gould Did Wed Edith Kelly. His Marriage to Musical Comedy Actress in Paris Suburb. His First Wife, Mrs. Helen Kelly Gould, Is Expected to Marry Ralph Hill Thomas To-morrow.|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9E02EFDD1E39E333A25753C1A9619C946196D6CF |quote= |work=[[New York Times]] |date=July 10, 1910 |accessdate=2008-12-22 }}.

Hetty Kelly was played by actress [[Moira Kelly]] in the 1992 movie [[Chaplin (film)|Chaplin]] produced and directed by Richard Attenborough. She also played [[Oona O’Neill]] in the film.{{cite news|url=http://www.nytimes.com/1993/01/03/movies/up-coming-moira-kelly-playing-two-roles-chaplin-while-dreaming-joan-arc.html?pagewanted=1|title=Moira Kelly; Playing Two Roles in ‘Chaplin’ While Dreaming of Joan of Arc|publisher=[[The New York Times]]|work=|date=1993-01-03|accessdate=2010-05-20|first=Jeff|last=Giles}}

==References==
{{reflist}}

For Fawkes’ Sake

[6.xi.15]

guy fawkes guido mask

As I left Channel 4 for York yesterday the taxi driver avoided Whitehall due to “something going on down there” – it was the now annual gathering of a ‘million masks’ to march against Capitalism. The masks are those Guido Fawkes masks beloved of everyone from left-field comicbook artist Alan Moore to right-winger Paul Staines. Guido is the name Staines uses when fighting Socialism. Guido was the name Guy (Fawkes) used when fighting for the Spanish.

I missed my train north by a minute but luckily the guard on the next one was short-sighted and missed the invalidity of my ticket. On arrival in York I walked along the city walls and into the quaintly English in an ecclesiastical sort of way city centre. Dumped my Wigan Casinoish moddy bag at Middleton’s hotel and headed for the opening of the Aesthetica Short Film Festival, a BAFTA-qualifying shorts fest at which I spoke today to an audience of 180 young’uns in a steeply raked lecture theatre at York St John University.

At the opening gathering I bumped into Revolution Software’s Charles Cecil, a games geezer descended from some notorious Elizabethan Cecil (Robert I think). I used to see him regularly at the annual b.tween cross-platform conference. We watched 5 opening short films in the City Screen auditorium, of which 3, possibly 4, were too long IMHO. Good production values and well made (mostly dramas) but not truly taking on board the aesthetics and dynamics of the online video age.

Later in the evening I wandered the lanes of York, eventually finding myself under this sign for the Guy Fawkes Inn:

guy fawkes inn pub york

So it’s 5th November. The masked men in the West End by now had started setting fire to police vans and taking on the pigs. Across the rest of the country fireworks are exploding. And I’m standing on the streets where Guy Fawkes was born in 1570 – under one of those masks. I didn’t even know he came from York until I found his inn.

Thursday 5th November 2015 - London

Thursday 5th November 2015 – London

I wandered on around the tranquil Minster, no-one much around, too late for firework noise, a gentle drizzle in a diffuse sodium light. Past the stone workshop where 21st century men carve stone components from the very same stone in which the monumental building was originally constructed, to repair its ancient fabric.

I returned along the cobbled quay by the Ouse to listen to Steely Dan and write about suffragettes. Now I’m listening to John Martyn on my newly acquired red iPod Nano and writing about another famous political militant on the train home.

As the ridiculous and slimy Tory discussions about the idealogical privitisation of Channel 4 continue at Prime Minister’s Questions this week (it costs the public nothing, it’s not broken and it doesn’t need private investment) I’m a bit sorry Guido didn’t manage to blow the mothers (of the mother of Parliaments) up.

V for Vendetta comic alan moore

Hammers and bags of stones

STEED (nods)

I’ve gathered intelligence on Fenian agitators in Liverpool and Manchester, Sir. In both cases I was able to ascertain the ringleaders, and break up the malignant activity.

A MINISTER grips a copy of The Times with growing irritation

MINISTER

The Suffragettes are regrettable by-products of our civilisation, out with their hammers and their bags full of stones because of dreary empty lives and high-strung over-excitable natures.

I read the script of Suffragette early last year when I was doing some work with Film4 to do with it. I found the history more compelling than the story and immediately hit Wikipedia in search of more on the Pankhursts and the heroic Emily Davison. I saw the finished movie the other day at The Phoenix, East Finchley – it was OK but the most moving part was actually the documentary footage of Davison’s funeral right at the end.

The factoid just after, in the end credits, that Swiss women didn’t get the vote until February 1971 also moved me – and many others in the audience – right off our perches.

This week got off to a colourful start with a workshop in the boardroom of the National Portrait Gallery, in my case focusing in particular on the digital. The boardroom is on Orange Street behind the gallery which I’ve always loved for sharing its name with the street in downtown Kingston, Jamaica which was once the heart of ska, rocksteady and reggae.

Buster, bowl me over with your bogus dance, shuffle me off my feet
Even if I keep on running, I’ll never get to Orange Street

One fella in the room did have dreads – Professor Paul Gilroy of King’s College, London. The rest of the gathering was equally professorial including a Princeton History professor and a Goldsmith’s lecturer/curator. The new director of the NPG was there with his senior team, all women. While we were discussing the future plans of the gallery I was thinking about how to piggy-back effectively off other media and be topical/reactive –  in doing so I came across some amazing photos on the NPG website straight out of the Steed scenes (Brendan Gleeson and his prodigious beard) from Suffragette

Surveillance Photograph of Militant Suffragettes by Criminal Record Office 1914 {courtesy of NPG}

Surveillance Photograph of Militant Suffragettes by Criminal Record Office 1914 {courtesy of NPG}

Surveillance Photograph of Militant Suffragettes by Criminal Record Office 1914 {courtesy of NPG}

Surveillance Photograph of Militant Suffragettes by Criminal Record Office 1914 {courtesy of NPG}

After the Fight c.1914 {courtesy of NPG}

After the Fight c.1914 {courtesy of NPG}

You can find 5 suffragette portraits on the National Portrait Gallery site here.

At lunchtime after the workshop I popped round the corner to the Noel Coward Theatre to try to get a ticket for Photograph 51 with Nicole Kidman about another monumental woman, Rosalind Franklin, one of the three key discoverers of DNA. Looks like I’m going to have to do a heroic two-hour queue at 8.30 in the morning to get to see this play – and I’ll have to try not to get over-excitable in the process…

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