Thursday, 23 June 2011

A Triumph Of Spectacle Over Substance

We haven't watched a great deal on the 3D TV since we got it. There's still only one channel and the limited choice on offer is repeated day in day out. But we saw the ads for the Kylie Minogue Aphrodite Tour and thought that we'd give it a go. It was certainly spectacular and the 3D was stunning - the troupe of muscular dancers seemed to reach out into the room.  There were so many abs, pecs and gleaming torsos on show it felt like we'd inadvertently stumbled upon a gay porn channel. The set was amazing, the costumes dazzling and the dance routines perfectly choreographed. At times it looked like the borrowers had set up home on our TV cabinet with their mobile phones aloft recording the show. But for all that visual spectacle, within about twenty minutes we both had the same thought. 'This is boring' we almost said it in unison. So I'm afraid we switched off and deleted it. It doesn't matter how good a concert looks if the music is dull.

Dull is the last word that you would use to describe "A Bout Portant" - "Point Blank" the French thriller that we went to see at FACT in Liverpool on Tuesday. Starring Eric Cantona lookalike Gilles Lellouche as a trainee nurse who somehow finds himself involved in a violent underworld, the film opens with a chase and from then on the action is non stop right to the finish. The plot pushes the limits of credulity but that doesn't take away the excitement as the action traverses Paris with plenty of twists and turns along the way. It's only 84 minutes long and feels like 60. Try and catch it. You won't be disappointed.

I was a little disappointed with "Potiche" which we saw a couple of hours later. It's possibly because of the hype that left me anticipating a riotous evening of laughter. Instead it was more a case of a few hearty chuckles. The wonderful Catherine Deneuve plays a potiche or trophy wife who, faced with her husband's sudden illness, has to take the reins at the family business - an umbrella factory. Here she puts her husband's draconian form of capitalism to shame and brings the factory into the 20th century (the film is set in the late 1970's). Her new position brings her into contact with old flame Gerard Depardieu (looking increasingly like a barrel on legs with every new film) who still holds a torch for her. Will they get back together? I will leave you to find out. I did like this film. It shows great insight into the French attitude to infidelity compared to our prim English position and I loved the performances of Deneuve and  Karin Viard as the long suffering secretary and bosses' bit on the side. It was just a bit too long and wasn't as great as I had hoped.

There are plenty of new releases for next week although we couldn't find anything at VUE yesterday for our regular Orange Wednesday trip. "Life in a day" the film made up of Youtube contributions looks interesting for next week. I've heard good things about "Bridesmaids" too although they seem to have missed all of them from the trailer we saw on Tuesday which made it look like one of those boorish Adam Sandler films but with the parts played by women instead of men.

It seems like only yesterday that we got this photo and the news that we were expecting our first grandchild but it's less than three weeks now to the big event and the excitement and anticipation is starting to get to us. We're off to see Sarah in St Andrews on Monday for a couple of days. We're taking the pram and a "few" other bits and pieces that we've got and we really can't wait for the baby (nicknamed Pip by Sarah and Duncan) to arrive. I'm sure that we'll have no nails left by 13th July and we just hope that everything runs smoothly and Sarah is blessed with a baby that's as good as she and her brother were. I'll keep you posted.

Apart from being a superb cinema, FACT in Liverpool also participates in showing Virgin Media Shorts - small films of under three minutes that showcase the talents of up and coming new film makers. There's a great one running at the moment that's not yet available on YouTube but here's a recent favourite. How do they cram so much in such a short time? Hollywood take note.