Editorial 2003 - Summer Movies -Cultural Imperialism- British
summer belongs to Arnie, naturally. Unbelievably he has decided
on running against Gray Davis for the Governorship of California
in October. Can California be fixed? Will the voters be voting for
a robot or Kindergarden Cop? I am sure our own James Campion will
be writing on this subject soon. It seems crazy that the most dynamic
microeconomy on planet Earth (which California is) can be so close
to bankrupcy. Arnie is taking on a lot and some pretty wierd opponents.
T3 is in all the screens and it is surprisingly funny and successful
in Europe and elsewhere despite the bleak subject matter (that
of the obliteration of the human race). Of course John Connor looks
a tad different to Eddie Furlong these days and bears no resemblance
to the first John Connor in T1, but maybe that is a quibble. All
I can say that combine the noses of Clare Danes and this new guy
and the next human race is going to look pretty mutated with or
without the bombs going off. (*
Note: JT Brown our Japanese correspondent is working on an article
about robotics for the September edition of Hacks)T3 broke records in Japan. For some reason the Japanese love robot movies
and robot running amuck and destroying everything in their path most of
all. Perhaps in a well ordered society like Japan they have a permanent
need for destruction. Godzilla and Akira come to mind and T3 fits the
bill. There is a lot of destruction and gratuitous violence. Nevertheless
T3 seems to me to be only half a movie. It just gets going and then stops.
It isnt that Arnie is too old, or the Terminatrix doesnt get
any good dialogue to say other than nice car, but perhaps
it needed to move the story on beyond the day they survived Judgement
Day and how they found the army of people they needed to fight the machines.
I guess we will have to leave that to T4.
Why take it seriously? Well it has been a bad year for movies this year
and the rash of sequels are just not satisfying to watch. Bad Boys 2 hasnt
opened in the UK yet, but it follows like all the rest with massive drop
offs in the second week (53%) and Tombraider 2 looked dire even in the
trailer. Sinbad doesnt appeal, Legally Blonde 2I am sure all the
best lines were in the trailer. (I have since been dragged kicking and
screaming to it and it was the most dire weak, pathetic film I have seen
in months. Avoid! ) American Wedding (American Pie 3) I am sure will open
number one in the USA but surely this franchise has run out of steam by
now. Gigli starring Ben Afflect and J-Lo is a turkey and there should
be a law to prevent Hollywood couples from playing love scenes together.
There are some basic requirements in a blockbuster. It should thrill,
have some witty dialogue or engage us emotionally. The Matrix Part Two
failed on all counts, most of the rest have been pretty half hearted.
(I guess Tarantinos Kill Bill with Uma Thurman will
grab all the headlines but somehow I think it will be more about excess
and special effects than drama. Nevertheless I know many people who cant
wait to see it.)
Its August, why bother going to the cinema at all?
Well there are kids to be entertained for one. Then you need something
to do when you arent at work or if you are on holiday. TV is just
a dead-zone in the summer. Cinema should be able to provide all the entertainment
you need. Somehow I am not leaning towards a new movie called Danny Deckchair
(on release in Australia) mostly because it has Rhys Evans in it. Other
than Notting Hill, try and think of any film with him in it that was worth
watching. The Shipping News? Now there s a gem of a movie disaster.
Looking at the tide
of entertainment coming the UKs way this summer
Spy Kids 3-D will be a blast. The last two were fun and opened at number
one in the US. It is on release during August all over the UK. Pirates
of the Caribbean (starring Johnny Depp) will be funny and its
nearly taken $200 million in the US market alone
The League of Gentlemen (with Sean Connery) looks clunky. (The very
poor Trailers doomed it early on) and Seabiscuit (Toby Mcquire and a
racehorse) will probably not travel well in Europe given that we dont
know much about American racehorses.
There are European movies too, but looking at box office returns all
over Europe in Screen International you can see the complete domination
of US film. From Hulk, to Charlies Angels, Bruce Almighty,T3,The Italian
Job and Daddy Day Care, its damn hard for any European or UK film
to penetrate the market. The only UK films that have succeeded are Johnny
English (Rowan Akinson comedy) and 28 Days Later (horror). In country
after country it is hard to spot something local. In France
Seven years of Marriage Les Enfants De La Pluie (
A French -S Korean movie) have drawn audiences. But there is a film
'And Now Ladies and Gentlemen' Directed by Claude Lelouch starring Jermey
Irons and Kaas that has broken out and is playing in New York and LA.
In Japan Battle Royale 2 : requiem and Spy Sorge
are the only two to keep The Core or 8 Mile at bay.
American cultural domination is almost total. Can we fight back? Will
it be possible to get audiences to demand local cinema, ineed is there
an audience for British film? We
know there is an audience for French cinema, but they too are struggling,
unable to come up with anything like the success of Amelie
of two years ago. Yet it is true, hundreds of European and UK and Asian
films get made every year. It would be a nice thought that we could
at least sample a few of them at our local multiplex.
(Taster days anyone?)
UK Heatwave 99šF
- 'Sorry we're out of ice'
OK, you can write anything you like', Carine told me. 'No one is reading
it anyway, theyre all at the beach.
Its always encouraging when your publisher shows so much interest
in your work. Of course, we are not at the beach. If you have seen Portsmouth
Beach youd know why. Half a ton of flint in your shoes is not
my idea of a beach. No place to run, no place to hide, every restaurant
and coffee shop filled with smokers and the heady scent of fish and
chips wafting across from Southsea seafront. Yet is is full of people
right now enjoying the second heatwave of the summer. If every year
is going to be hot now (thanks to Global Warming) can we somehow make
our beach resorts more attractive? Some places to have coffee (at least
up to Starbucks standards) after 4pm would be a start. There are some
people who don't want to get drunk 24/7.
(*Carine says that I am in a distinct minority here and should live
some place else. She's right darn it.) But just yesterday on the road
to Petworth we came across this very British sign for a pub. 'Warm Beer,
Lousy Food, Next Right' - no worry then about the trades descriptions
act...nor did we put it to the test I am afraid.
Luckily there is a placed to go that does offer choice and air-conditioning
Gunship Wharf. Loch Fyne restaurant being the best fish restaurant on
After spending a day in Littlehampton sharpening our feet on the flinty
beach and sampling what passed for Earl Grey tea we felt discouraged
enough. Why do so many people buy ugly (but very expensive) homes down
there and yet there is absolutley nowhere pleasant to stroll to, no
place for a community to meet up in coffee bars or restaurants. The
English are so spectacularly dull it never fails to astonish me. The
featureless architecture, the lack of facilities, the sense of isolation
and depression is overwhelming. Have we learned nothing about life and
and how to live it? The secret of life to is to keep on mingling, making
friends, getting out of the house and maintaining a 'lifestyle'. But
in town after town on the south coast of the UK there is nothing. In
the centres, of course, there
are many bars catering for the young, but this booze culture is not
actually a 'lifestyle'. Streets teeming with drunken totty and pools
of urine in the alleyways left over from the night before is testimony
to something, but it isn't life enhancing. Most people over forty feel
excluded and probably don't want to live like that. The ribbon developments
of retirement homes and 'luxury' apartments miles from town along the
coast and inland on estates are nowhere near 'things to do'. It's the
complete opposite of townlife and exactly wrong for a sense of 'community'
to develop. Take a drive along the crowded roads along the coast, if
you are in the UK, from Brighton to Portsmouth and see for yourself.
Sure there are pretty places like Arundel which actually looks like
and probably is a nice place to live, but that is the old model. The
River, everything focused around the Castle like the dwellers of Gormenghast,
it is quite spectacular. But elsewhere in town after town, it is bleak
and shabby, choked with cars. Chichester is doing it's best to defend
itself again boredom and the car and well worth a visit to the carless
high streets. But if you don't live within the city walls? Life is awkward
to say the least.
Defend it if you will, but the eye does not deceive. We are a nation
of bungalows and flat dwellers. Only rarely do you see a balcony that
would embrace the fresh air. Not only is there no sense of community
in many places, people live in their dwelling units completely cut off
from the sound and smells of the outside.** If you want to defend modern
British seaside architecture please do so. We welcome your input.
month in Hacks:
Colin Todhunter dream traveller, James Skinner on starting his first
novel, James Campion on US politics, Rev Hernandez on being Jewish,
J T Brown on Judo
Championships in Japan, Naseem Javed on 'the name economy', Charlie Dickinson
reviews, James Skinner on Iraq and Heather Neale on sudden illness ...Michael
Sean Morris on becoming a travel writer ...more to come
This summer Hackwriters:
© Sam North August 1st 2003
London Art Fair
: Saying Goodbye
Returning to Blighty
DYSTOPIA OUR FUTURE?
TIME IN THE CITY
Forget your troubles - April
Oscars have a message
FOR WAR February
Renting in Kits
Escape to the UK
takes a break
MANY MOVIES- IT'S AN AVALANCHE OF CULTURE
will you seeing at the movies?
REALLY IS A FUN CITY
'The city where everyone gets to live a millionaire lifestyle'
SECTION 9 in the N.Y. Sunday Times
A cornucopia - October
The Kids stay in the picture- August
PEOPLE IN GLASS HOUSES
Hacks visits the new Museum of Glass in Tacoma- August
Hot Sweats in a Cold
Read at the Anza Club- August
LIFE ON FAST FORWARD - Vancouver
on speed -September
SUPERNOVA NINA &
SweetSista'Shorts Carousel Theatre- Granville Island
- Off Fringe
ROUNDHOUSE FIFTH ANNIVERSARY.
Arts in the Community is for real -
WE ARE ALL GURUS NOW - September
Time to enrol
Vancouver Film Festival Trade Show report
Carine Thomas -Brighter Image