Okay so I realise for some of you this maybe a diversion from my usual ramblings about writing, reading, poetry, etc but perhaps a side of me you might not know is that I watch a hell of a lot of theatre, films and TV. Honestly I just find the arts and media so captivating, as a theatre student I’ve watched so much incredible live theatre and I figured this would be a good way to recommend if you like or proffer my own insights into theatre, TV and film. I’m not a high brow critic, I do spend afternoons watching the likes of Gossip Girl and Frozen (why not?) as well as more perhaps intellectual TV programmes and films but hopefully that just means I can offer broader suggestions.
I just finished watching Skins and honestly I didn’t want to love it at first, I like gritty teen dramas but I just struggled to warm up to the frequent drug use, expensive parties and to an extent, the lack of realism in the teacher- student relationships, frequent need to introduce ‘diverse’ characters etc. Fortunately my opinion changed, I warmed to quite a few of the characters in a way I didn’t expect, probably Effy the most, who for those of you that don’t know she is the longest standing character on the show. I found Scodelario’s portrayal of Effy absolutely mesmerizing but I think watching the character develop was the most satisfying part of the show for me. I loved the way Skins was filmed, the bleak and sombreness in the lighting and camera angles in the darker moments contrasting with the sudden brightness as the characters fall in love all so quickly, their is also a wonderful sense of the gritty realism in the filming locations, nothing seems placated and every location has meaning and makes sense.
2. The Grand Budapest Hotel
Rudeness is merely an expression of fear. People fear they won’t get what they want. The most dreadful and unattractive person only needs to be loved, and they will open up like a flower.
Wes Anderson’s story of a hotel in Budapest during the war and it’s inhabitants who are framed for murder is a classic, an absolute delight. The quality of the film is such a credit to his hard work, in an interview he explained how incredibly detailed the mood-boards for the film were, every single last shot captured in these drawings was then magnified by the artistic brilliance of the actors, designers and technicians. A true work of art. There are many, many references, I notice something new in the intricate fabric of the design or filming or acting that I didn’t notice before every time I watch it; The Great Escape, Lawrence of Arabia, The Shining, The Fugitives. I also adore the acting, particularly that of Ralph Fiennes as the splendidly sassy Monsieur Gustave, his comic timing and quick jokes, his peculiarly overt sexuality that hangs like a question mark on the curl of his mustache and yet his lovable devotion to Zero and the hotel. A role that very much procures his reputation as a fine, talented actor.
3. Better Call Saul
I liked this then I didn’t then I kind of did. To be honest I really wasn’t expecting another Breaking Bad, I just knew in reality, as clever as Vince Gilligan is and all it just wasn’t going to be possible to create something that will ever match up to the phenomena of Breaking Bad. Nevertheless having low expectations I did enjoy the first few episodes of this spin-off I felt like there was a lot of room for growth and particularly with the two skateboarding scam artists shall we say, in the first episode. Unfortunately for me I lost touch, I failed to find the dark humour I loved in Breaking Bad and I struggled to warm to Saul, if we were meant to. Really I just grew tiresome, there isn’t enough scandal for this to ever develop to the stage of compulsive watching for me but I think that’s almost a side effect of the ever-looming shadow giant and success of Breaking Bad. Needless to say Gilligan’s epic filming style with slow moving camera angles is still confidently retained and if you like Breaking Bad and want something slightly lighter, more crime drama than horror and less compulsively addictive then it might be for you.