Thursday, 24 October 2013

The Wee Man

I have still not reported the British picture The Wee Man set in Scotland but filmed in the East End of London, in part I understand because of the resentment of Strathclyde Police about the way there were to be depicted. In fact there are scenes in which a particular view of the police is provided.

The subject of the film. The Wee Man Paul Ferris reformed professional criminal is shown as a boy in his bed room witnessing several police beatings a man to pulp inside a van and then in the road before moving away in the vehicle. Who the man was and why they took the action was never explained. I am not aware Strathclyde police have issued a statement denying that such an incident could never have taken place.

In the second incident a police officer is seen advising the Glasgow crime boss Arthur Thompson that he needs to offer up a scapegoat after a murder and other acts of violence and crime. Someone comments that the officer is on the take and one of Thompson’s men. Finally Ferris and his pregnant wife is set up by Thompson’s son according to the film when they accept a hideaway offer in Scottish Loch countryside and the fully armed police squad attempt to fit him up with drugs in which subsequently became the longest murder trial in Scottish legal history but where despite the army of witnesses (300) attempting to frame Ferris he is acquitted.

My original understanding of Glasgow came from the book No Mean City published and set in the years between the two World was and which I purchased soon after I left school in the mid 1950’s. I was to stay in Glasgow for a month in 1961 first on an outer city estate and then in the centre at the Iona community house in Sauchiehall Street, and then from the mid 1970’s I passed through the City on my way to various parts of west and central Scotland as well as once staying in the city for a conference although I have not visited for well over a decade and I am well aware that the city has been transformed and will be on parade for the Commonwealth games to staged next Summer. I never saw anything to suggest the level of crime about which there has been significant publicity although I was aware of areas of significant deprivation, especially in estates on the outskirts of the city.

In the film and in his autobiography on which the film is partly based, Paul grows up in the Blackhill district of Glasgow a community created to replace the inner slums but with a substantial part recreating tenements with the poorest quality of building although there were some better standard homes with gardens. The estate is located near the infamous Scottish prison Barlinnie and a gas works and a distillery. In his childhood and as a teenager with two other school friends, Paul was terrorised by a notorious local crime family who commenced with bullying, sexual assaults and rape graduating into a family competing with the Thompson’s.

Paul’s mother is portrayed as sensible and long suffering with a weak but kind father who liked his bevy and who offered the advice of see and say nothing and avoid trouble and all local villains. Early on however Ferris sees Thompson and his men shoot someone and the boy takes money from the dead man’s wallet which he shows and shares with his boyhood friends. Parents find the money and the police advised and confiscate the cash with an official warning. His father is upset that the money has been handed to the police who he suspects will keep for themselves and is pleased when the boy reveals that he has kept some of back. This catholic Family were Celtic supporters hating Rangers fans and an elder brother went to prison twice after stabbing a man to death in a pub and then a 15 year old boy.

In the film things come to a head as I understand in real life they also did when following a party Paul could no longer stand by as one of the Welsh brothers was raping a girl, having pushed him out of where he had been enjoying the party with a girl friend. In the film his father had persuaded him to throw away a knife he was carrying which he later retrieved and commenced a series of knife assaults on the gang. He is shown in the film to have changed from this experience for which he was arrested and charged when aged 17 and involved in various court appearances and sentencing to young offenders institutions and a remand centre. One of the brothers is found hanged in his cell with the implication that somehow Ferris was instrumental if not directly involved.

Upon release his wife expresses concerns at this way of life while because of his successful attacks on the Welsh family he is offered a job by Thompson who has a drug taking weak bully of a son called Fatboy and a wife who enjoys and parades the power obtained via her husbands extensive crime interests and who in common parlance is portrayed in the film as a nasty bit of work.

Thompson commenced his criminality as a money lender crucifying those who defaulted nailing them to floor and doors. After earning up to £100000 a week from loan sharking he said to have branched out into the usual range of criminal and front enterprises with his son concentrating on drugs which is reported to have managed via Blackpool or at least it was this operation which led to his arrest and imprisonment

Thompson escaped one bomb attack which killed his mother in law and was believed to have come from the Welsh family so it is said he was behind the killing of a family member and another when their vehicles was forced off the road. Although charged with murder the case was dropped although others were imprisoned. Thompson’s wife then stabbed the widow of killed man for which she was sentenced to three years although this is not covered in the film.

At this point the film concentrates on the role of another crime gang leader played in the film by the more well known of actors John Hannah who became familiar to me in that extraordinary crude, sexually explicit and visually comic book horror series on TV Sparticus where he plays a calculating and unscrupulous Gladiator school owner egged on by his even more calculating and unscrupulous wife. In The Wee Man he plays Tom McGraw known as the Licensee whose substantial wealth came from extortion and drug trafficking with the latter to run over £14 million and to own business properties including security companies and taxi firms, pubs and clubs selling drugs which the police had captures in raids

He is shown to have played a double game plotting with Fatboy to seize power from Thompson senior and getting rid of Ferris. Following his acquittal Ferris is shown warning McGraw that he will pursue him as he knows the part played in the attempt top frame him and the subsequently torture and murder of his boy friends and associates. Not in the film as there was a previous film McGraw is said to have also been behind the notorious Ice Cream Wars in Glasgow when his associates used extremely violence to eliminate competition in one instance (The Doyle family) setting fire and killing an 18 month baby. Mc Graw was arrested at least once in relation to drugs but not convicted while associates were and eh survived one major attack from wearing a bullet proof vest.

Protected by body guards imported from Ireland and under surveillance by the police he was heavily protected but is said to have paid Ferris between £1.5 and £2 million pounds to keep the peace and avoid revenge action. When Ferris was released from his last sentence McGraw is said to have spent the last years of his life in his villa abroad with his henchmen which ties in to the last shots in the film. He died of a suspected heart attack in 2007, 5 years after the attack on his life in 2002.

Fatboy was murdered outside the home of his parents when on weekend release from prison and Arthur Thompson and his wife blamed Ferris because their known antipathy and because they overheard his name being called by the getaway car and in the film this is presented as a set up by McGraw who Ferris believed had done the actual killing and who was then part of the trap to capture, torture and kill his childhood friends whose bodies were placed in a vehicles along the route of the funeral and which appears to have upset and angered Ferris as much as the attempt to convince him of the murder which he strongly denied and that his friends and associates were also involved

And what of the Thompson family? He spared no effort to get a conviction of Ferris with 300 witnesses at the trial but the death and subsequent attacks appear to have help shorten his own life together with the death of his daughter from a drug overdose in 1989 and another son was also stabbed close to his home but survived and was then recently sent to prison for two and half years reduced on appeal to 18 months. Thompson died in 1993 aged 61 of a heart attack.

In an article written in 2000 in the Guardian newspaper headed “Glasgow’s gang Lords wage war to the last man the paper stated that a war was taking place to control the drug market in the city said to be worth £300 million a year and that the relatives of Thompson were finding their previous absolute power being challenged by others, including two Chinese triads and also involved a man on the run from the FBI also wanted in connection with Drugs deals some £10 million with the Hells Angels of Canada. I have been unable to gain an update although it is known that there are over 150 street gangs throughout Glasgow alone that Mafia style criminal organisations from Italy, Central Europe and Russia have successfully rooted in parts of the UK despite the Serious crime Police making concentrated efforts to tackle the problems in relation to Drugs and People trafficking on the UK mainland. A feature of the greater mobility open to young people has been to explore the tendency to go into Europe and other cities and resorts world wide for drugs, as well as for excessive drinking for which the 18-30 British have become notorious.

At the end of the film Ferris attempts to leave the crime world behind but his wife states she has had enough an no longer loves him. It is known that they separated. Ferris has written several books based on his experiences.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Captain Phillips

This afternoon having booked my ticket online for the 14.20 performance I made my way in the rain to Cineworld Bolden for a showing of Captain Phillips, having heard a good review from Dr Mark Kermode. The larger than average theatre one had some 50 or so people, a good number for a Monday afternoon. I avoided reading up about this true event not to knowing the outcome which was an excellent decision which added significantly to what is in essence a suspense movie about the attempt of the USA Navy to rescue the Captain of a container ship who was hijacked when their attempt to capture the ship failed.

While this is a suspense movie the Director and writers have attempted to place the event in the context of Somali fisherman who can no longer provide for their families because factory fishing vessels have reduced their livelihood to subsistence. The choice is to work for one of the major gangs with the resources to negotiate with governments for the return if the vessels and crews unharmed. The cut of the fishermen was tiny compared to the million obtained for the gang masters who ruled their captains with ruthlessness, something we witness as the film commences and yet the pressure from everyone in the coastal village is to be able to participate.

Similarly we follow Tom Hanks as the Captain when he leaves his home with his wife to the airport and learn about the difficulty he is having with one of his children. He flies to a huge container ship Terminal in Dubai on their way with a mixed cargo which included water aid and food aid to Mombassa Kenya,

We see him reading about what do re piracy and initiating a drill which becomes a real attack by two skiffs at speed from the mother ship, a captured fishing vessel, appropriate in the particular circumstances. The captain is unable to call the USA control centre( based in England) so contacts the UK who advise on the standard tactics while relaying the message. It is evident that not much can then be achieved until an attack is confirmed and naval ships deployed with drones and helicopters. In this instance a fake message that naval ships and aircraft are being deployed causes one skiff to return home but the other led my Musa, a man who had capture craft before but wants a major prize is determined to do what has to be done, but his skiff breaks down and he has to return to his mother vessel but he decides to pursue again once repairs are undertaken.

Captain Phillips has issues with some of the new crew who are concerned about the risk and also question his decision to sail closer to the coast as recommended, his argument being that sooner or late they will be attacked wherever they are and they can only follow the instructions of the company and the terms of their contracts. However the issue was to surface again later.

In this instance one of the fire hoses ceases to operate and this enables the skiff to get close enough to attach a ladder and climb on board and take the captain and other officers on the bridge with the rest of the crew hiding in engine area. While using the standard approach the captain also advises that one of the four pirates is in bare feet ,a young man no more than a boy so the crew leave broken glass and the young an badly cuts his feet. The captain also suggests that someone knocks out the lighting system which involves leaving the engine room and moving upwards. This is successful and he persuades the pirates to do an exchange, him for the pirate leader who the engine room men are able to capture and leave with the $30000 in the safe using a life bat a full enclosed specialist modern craft They agree to this but knock the captain back into the escape pod so they can hold him for ransom.

It is at this point that the USA government forces come into play and the film is a good portrait of their determination and professionalism, including a Somali speaking negotiator. Phase one is a destroyer type vessel but then they are joined by a helicopter carrying craft and if they are unable to stop the pod reaching land and rescuing the Captain they have orders from the White House that the Navy SEALS who have been authorised to proceed will take over command when they arrive and ensure the mission is successful. In fact the security were already on aboard on of the ships.

During the following days and nights the tension builds as Phillips tries to persuade the pirate captain to release him, take the money and go home, but their leader says he has gone too far to now turn back. Suggested that there must be a better way to live the reply is perhaps in America, At the same time faces a constant threat of mutiny from one of the other men, hot headed, wanting to shoot first including the get home and when they are abandoned by the gang organisers the desperation becomes worse. Towards the end the pirate leader is persuaded to negotiate on one of the ships where he is told his elders have come to help, but this is a ploy to separate him from the others while the navy seals are in place after the lifeboat is attached to a tow which is in fact a winch. The two navy ships then create an unsettling wash which when all three men are visible in the boat they are shot together with Phillips clearly told to sit an wear a coloured uniform sent over with food and water. He does not expect to survive and writes a message for his family.

He is shown recovering in a state of shock after his release and being told his family have been advised and he will be able to speak with them on recovery. The film discloses that he returned to sea in 2010 about a year after these events and that the pirate leader is now serving a term of 33 years in the United States. I agree that the in the role of Phillips Tom Hanks acts very well and he is likely to be an Oscar contender However just as with Cate Blanchette in Blue Jasmine Unlike last year I regard neither as super outstanding in terms of their films as a whole.

Captain Phillips had intended to study law, switched to sea but worked as a cabbie and married a nurse . They have two children. He was 57 at the time of he hijacking and he and his wife questioned the continuing sea going away from his family. I learned that the lifeboat had ten days of food and water with the Destroyer Bainbridge and Frigate Halliburton . The rescued Cargo ship was taken to Mombassa where a former captain took command for the rest of the journey deployed . One of the crew sued the firm on the grounds that the Captain had ignored warnings not to go so close to the mainland. The action was on behalf of eight other crew members and the outcome is unknown, Muse whose had was stabbed by a crew member in the film and in reality was claimed by his parents to be as young as sixteen but was tried as an adult and charged with two other piracy actions which he admitted to.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

The Fifth Estate (2013)

Time Magazine has Benedict Cumberbatch on the its front cover ( I presume published too early for the financial deal with the Republican party climb down) the actor who played Julian Assange in the Film The Fifth Estate with the Time headline “ playing Genius“, an interesting recognition given that Assange remains one of those the USA would like to have the opportunity to charge with something or the other for leaking of the those quarter of million emails released in full without redactions as well other giving on line space other countless other former USA secrets..

I have mow heard two reviews of the film which make the same point that in their attempt to be even handed the film fails as a film although in my judgement this is its strength if attempting an honest account of the man and the brief history of Wikileaks and the relationship between the one person creator and the man who helped become global although the two fell out with Assange becoming venomous about his former partner.

My main interest as is often the case with such films is the extent to which the portrait of the characters as well as of the events is an accurate one. First Wikileaks is a world wide programme which enables anyone anywhere to upload information which governments and political organisations do not want published whether they are documents which should be treated as confidential. They have also published material relating to big business with the film highlighting corrupting banking avoiding taxation payments.

The anarchical group is comparatively recent in that publication did not get going until 2006 and therefore the prior history of its creator is crucial to any understanding. Julian Assange is said to have accepted £1million for an assisted written autobiography but after protracted difficulties the book was published as an unauthorised and as in the film he admits to stretching truth in the interests of the cause, first denying that in had any contact with the two women accusing him of sexual conduct resulting in a European arrest warrant being issues for his removal to Sweden, the film also states that he has admitted to a consenting sexual relationship.

Just as over the past few days I have echoed those in Government, Opposition and the political and other media who have said what the three Police Federation officers did was unacceptable irrespective of what can be assumed has been honest and committed public service in the cause of Justice I place question anything that is said about Assange especially said by him unless there is proof which I can also inspect and assess. This after all is the reason why Assange has stated and as is stated in the film he believed that the original leaked documentation or film should be published without any editorial changes. The only editorial action was to publish and not publish and only to do so without first some verification that the matter is original and not faked or itself altered.

Assange was born in Australia to a single parent in July 1971 with his mother marrying Richard Assange when he was a year old.. By the time he was nine his mother was divorced, remarried, separated and commenced to go into hiding for five years with her two sons, one of the second marriage because of a custody battle. They moved constantly and he is known to have been enrolled in at least 12 schools although he claims more, some attending for only one day,

The film refers to a period when his mother joined a cult with an authoritative approach to children There is uncertainty about his hair being white whether he was forced to die it when younger or it turned white under the emotional pressure of the experiences he faced.

Given his nomadic existence he must have innate intelligence to have learned how to use and programme computers to be able to hack into governmental and other organisations by the time he was sixteen and when tried in court with others he avoid a ten year sentence in part because of his childhood but also because the Judge considered he had been curious rather than wanting to do damage.

(He married young, separated and claims that he raised his son as a single parent for 14 years although the films has him explaining that he had not seen his son for years part of the sacrifice which his missionary zeal for the work involved.)

His computer knowledge and skill resulted in programmes and publications, forming companies and which included encryption work and then he enrolled as an undergraduate in a university course 2202 to 2205 but did not graduate and where his performance is said not have been more than average and then a year late he created Wikileaks and which according to the film he seems to have worked out and created on his own also writing what and what he hopped to achieve, nothing less than regime change when the natural character of any regime is not to change. To achieve this he would provide the opportunity for people to publish information as they wished that is without editing other than taking the decision to publish thus protecting the anonymity of the whistle blowers.

In the film he suggests to his then would be close associate Daniel Domschiet-Berg that he had hundreds of volunteer helpers and then confesses that he worked alone because there was no one could be trusted and who world not betray in the end. Prophetic and a genuine concern at one level given the role of governments themselves in using the technology for spying both permitted and secret as with what has emerged in relation to the use by the UK Government of the monitoring of the who contacts who communications of contacts by the USA governments something that has long since been possible via traditional phone tapping and has now been extended to all other forms of communication with the problem , as I understand it, that the programme needs to everything f everyone everywhere. So what are good government supposed to do it is important to ask, stand by and let the Chinese for example hack into everything they want to do, spy freely and then block to prevent their own people gaining access and information? Let International criminal gangs rule cyber space?

I also suggests that his wish to personally lead a crusade to bring regimes down or change them because they do not wish to do so, if an accurate statement also raises the issue of who or how is one to decide what is acceptable or an unacceptable regime. Communism in Yugoslavia, had its faults and no doubt individuals were persecuted, tortured and murdered for political reasons but were the numbers as bad as what happened in the Ethnic cleansing subsequently and did the regime in Iraq kill more of its own citizens than from intervention in terms of “collateral damage” and the subsequent religious based and ongoing civil war... Do we continue to monitor or care now that our own troops are no longer being killed? Syria is a very good current example where the excitement about a potential Arab Spring on the part of Western media and its governments has quickly turned sour with the realization that all the destabilization was doing, is dismantling the existing regime, changing it to what appeared likely to become a fundamentalist extreme terrorist protecting and supporting regime with access to the chemical and other weapon of mass destruction held by the regime and who were sold to them by the same western and other big powers who condemn their use.

There is a fundamental difference between wanting to ensure that bad things, bad acts by individuals whether on behalf of their government or not, including by corporations and agencies whether public or private are exposed and appropriate action is taken and not covered and wanting to bring whole regimes down without know what is to happen next and ensuring that what follows is not worse than what happened before.

The list of Wikileaks exposures is impressive and the extent to which the work has gained financial support suggests that the work has had widespread support, leading to the exposure which pushed what had been a cult on to the front pages and main headline organisation across the globe. This was the arrival of a quarter of million emails between the Foreign State Department and its embassies around the world in which staff commented on leaders and relationships and which led to the prosecution of the military man for the release of state secrets. Washington had to embark on a major effort to protect sources and the film concentrates on one source from getting himself and his family quickly out of Libya and into Egypt and having done so asking what do I do next, a question which the films fails to provide an answer as to what happened,

The arrival of the documents and the need to redact names and other identifying information was a problem at the time and about which the subsequent full disclosure availability continue to be subject of controversy. In the film the decision of Julian to insist on the release led to Daniel Domschiet and other associates not just leaving but taking positive steps to prevent the further access to a substantial number of documents in order to protect the sources, especially of those in the diplomatic cables,

In the film the trouble between the former close associates comes to head when unexpectedly Julian accepts the invitation to dine with the parents of Daniel but he is shown to react negatively at being in a normal family and resentful and then angry because of what is in some of the press cuttings about her son which the father has collated mainly because the stories appear to give credit to his contribution as an important partner whereas to Julian, Daniel was no more than one of many volunteers. According to the film it was Daniel and the others who persuaded Julian to accept that they should agree to the Guardian Newspaper in the UK in association with other major papers around the world initiating the publication in 2010 of the Diplomatic cables and which did indeed create worldwide attention and the full might of the USA Government and indeed the other governments involve because of the content. In the film the impression is given that Julian authorised the publication of all the texts with redactions. The argument is over the publication of the password in a book which the Guardian thought was only temporary

In the film Julian is warned by the Guardian to expect a smear campaign and this becomes focussed on allegations and formal complaints made against him by two women which had been an important base for the work. As stated Julian is reported as denying that he knew either woman, and then that although he had sexual relations with them these had been consensual. His reasoning was that to he held in Sweden would lead to extraditions to the USA before any trial could take place a threat which given the efforts of the USA Government to bring charges against him personally, appears very real, still, he has taken refuge inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since June 2012 after a European Arrest warrant was issued.

But a compromise must reached unless he proposes to spend the rest of his life in the Embassy . Governments, possible Sweden individually and the EEC in relation to the warrant may need to give a public assurance that if he returns to Sweden to answer the charges, the USA government should also state beforehand if it intends to seek extradition and if it is the Swedish government must state openly how it will treat the request in terms of its existing judicial system. There should be no back door unpublished deal unless it is acceptable to Julian and his legal advisers.

Tucked away in the no connection Wikipedia article is the information that one time Julian assisted authorities in Australia with technical advice in relation to combating child pornography online and it occurs that someone with his undoubted skill and knowledge would be an asset to any government and given that his work is continuing for better or worse through the activities of others, this is the kind of deal he should consider although managing such a temperament could prove a challenge..

The film is said to have been based on the book by Daniel called Inside Wikileaks My time with Julian Assange in the World’s most dangerous website. Factually he was an associate between 2007 and 2010

It is understood that 3500 unpublished documents have been destroyed known to have included the US Government no Fly List, 5 GB Bank of America Leaks, insider information of 20 Right Wing Organisations, and proof of torture and government abuse in a Latin American Country. The film paints Daniel as very level headed but who allows Julian to take over his life for a time resulting in the break up with a woman with whom he as having a loving and supportive relationship but which have the break with Assange he gave the priority deserved. Although he with others proposed to set up a new group concerned with big business than government it has not yet started. Interesting.

I agree the film failed to reach any conclusions or pose questions I have raise but it is an entertainment and not a documentary, something which has been produced but I ha not yet seen.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Django Unchained

22.00 I was surprised by Django Unchained which is Quentin Tarantino film in the style of Sergio Leone Spaghetti Westerns complete with loud power ballad overlay although it is set in the barbarism of plantation slave labour in Texas and Mississippi. Christopher Waltz play a former Dentist who makes his life as a shoot first dead or alive Bounty Hunter who intercepts (Jamie Foxx as Django) when he is being sold from an estate with three brother overseers who are on the blacklist of Dr King Shultz of German background) of wanted villains using new names and who has does not know what they look like.. He searches for Django top enable identification and tries to persuade the traders sell him voluntarily at a fair price to aid in his search. They decline and in the shoot out he kills one, wounds the other which he leaves for the other slaves to kill and bury deep before telling them to follow the North Star heading in its direction.

Django gets a horse and a winter coat and rides as an assistant with the promise of money and freedom. They ride into a western type town where a black man on horseback is a novelty and where the man is refused at the bar so they help themselves and then kill one of he lawmen who is in fact a fugitive with the price on his head much to the amazement of the other lawman and townsfolk.

For Django the search for the three brother is personal because of the way they treated him and his German family origin speaking black slave wife who has been sold separately. They trick their way on the estate and it is Django whose gun work has been polished up who shoots two close to hand and uses a riffle to get the third running away. . The estate owner creates what appears to be the first Klu Klux Klan local get together with white covered heads cut from bags out of which they cannot properly see. The now joint Bounty Hunting team have anticipated the raid and blow a good proportion of the terrorist up with dynamite attached to their wagon as well as riffle picking out the plantation owner as the rest run off. He is known as Big daddy echoing the Burl Ives Role.

It is only in the second part of the film that Dr Shultz works out a plan of how they can rescue his newly traded wife by presenting themselves as interested in acquiring the best black fighter ( to death gladiator style) owned by Leonardo Di Caprio a Francophile who cannot speak French who has the biggest slave plantation in the state supported by a large number of white trash brutal scum overseers. Di Caprio is fascinated by the Django arrogance as a black slave trader and expert advisor on black fighters.

He alienates the white trash who promise retribution but their plan nearly works and the plan nearly works is shot after he kills Di Caprio who insisted on a hand shake on the deal. which would set both husband and wife officially free and instead shoots Leonardo with the consequence of about fifty guns do battle. The wife is used to force Django to surrender and he is sent off to stone break for a mining company and his wife is locked up for use by the men after the family funeral. The family includes the bosses widowed sister, his personal security man and a family black who has been with the estate for 76 years

Django tricks his way out of the transport cage to the mine with the promise of bounty money, then kills the men involved and frees the others being transported with him. He then returns and kills everyone in sight with the finale blowing up the mansion house to smithereens to the delight of his wife.

The film is controversial on two counts. At one level it is Spaghetti western Hollywood style which about 100 blood killings with lots of flesh splattering, However it is created in the style which one commentator describes as pulp fiction the constant use of the n word has offended contemporary sensibility of both those with enslaved ancestors as well as the liberal. This smacks of wanting to rewrite history although pulp fiction tongue in cheek style does offend the righteousness but this should be no more regarded as a blood thirsty caper. Samuel L Jackson plays the black guardian of the slave owning values which he subsequently argues is what some black republicans and no doubt others still hold.



Saturday, 12 October 2013

Blue Jasmine 2013 Woody Allem film with Cate Blanchette

Blue Jasmine is he latest Woody Allen and with Cate Blanchette in a potentially best actress award winning role as broken woman Sleepcar named Desire echoes character of Blanche Dubois with the storyline when she arrives at the apartment of estranged sister giving the impression of coming to stay for a prolonged period of time , after she has lost the family home and given leave of absence from her job because of nerves.

In this instance in a series of flashbacks we learn that the character played by Cate has lost everything after she has blown the whistle on her husband fraudulent investment businessmen he announces he is leaving her for another younger woman after she has turned a blind eye to his infidelities throughout their married life, settling for being a New York socialite holding and attending dinner parties, given jewellery and fashion clothing, living in a wealthy house with also an expensive coast holiday home. As a consequence of her actions the husband is arrested in the street and goes to prison where he commits suicide. She loses everything except for the cash from jeweller she managed to hide from the authorities and his soon runs out and her 20 year old son leaves Harvard humiliated and disappears wanting to have nothing to do with her for what she had done as much as anger with his father.

In this instance the sister is not a blood relation with both having been adopted by the same couple and while Cate was the bright one leaving university to marry her husband, the sister has struggled married to self employed removal man. When they win $20000 in the lottery they come to New York for a week expecting to be entertained by the sister who looks don on both while they hope the husband would advise on how to set up in the construction of homes business. Instead they are persuaded to invest all the money with a 20% return which vanished when the fraud is exposed. The couple split up and when Cate arrives her sister is engaged to a normal grease monkey mechanic who would have moved in with the sister and her two boys if Cate has not descended. She had turned to her sister after going to pieces and found wondering the streets talking to herself. There is a sense of years passing between he events in this film

After turning up her nose at the flat and lifestyle of her sister she drives a wedge between her and the boyfriend proclaiming the girl could do better. Cate has the wish to complete her degree but without the finance wants to take a course in home designing on line which necessitates taking a course first on computing with which she struggles. However a class mate invites her to a “high class” party where she meets a career diplomat based in Vienna with political ambitions and who has bought a great house in the area in which to settle with a suitable wife and seeks to employ Cate who has spun a line about her circumstances, no children and a widow, Interior decorator. At first we think he is another similar personality to that of her dead husband but in fact he is horrified and refuses to have anything more to do with her when going to purchase the ring, she meets the former husband of her sister who in anger at his lot spills the beans about her truth. She is back to square, although in fact her predicament has worsened. She had persuaded the sister to attend the same party and the sister had commenced what proved to be an affair with a married man who designed audio systems. The have great sex and she pushes away the boyfriend who is extremely angry and upset about her behaviour blaming on the sister.

After discovering thee man is married and his wife has found out the sister quickly manages to re-establish her self with the boyfriend who move sin. Cate is angered and frustrated by her situation and following exchanges storms out saying she will arrange for her luggage to be collected. She has burned her boats having discovered her son is married, living and working in the area he rejects her approach.

The film ends as she is sitting on a bench talking to herself, something which she had done from time. She had walked out of her job as a dental receptionist after he jumps her and therefore she is now homeless again and without work. But although this looks the end of her road she has choice, to sink further into a psychotic world of the past, or quickly learn how to survive. The decision is yours.

Friday, 11 October 2013

The Wicker Man 2013 Final Cut 40th anniversary

After a gap of weeks I went to a cinema theatre twice this week for a showing of the Wicker Man at 21.10 Cineworld Bolden Tuesday October 8th 2013, cost £4.05 booked on line, followed by the following morning at 12.10 the showing of Blue Jasmine using one of the remaining Cineworld Vouchers obtained via my credit card, remaining as I appear to have lost, hopefully misplaced , the two special vouchers issued by Bolden because of problems previously experienced plus a couple of additional voucher via the Credit card. This continues to bug as the concerns is that i may have attached to one of the London visit Albums or a Development album. Having not found my photo card Driving licence which I am sure I left at home when not taking the car on a London trip during which I saw a film about Renoir present mood is one fo frustration.

I was disappointed by the special large screening of the Wicker man which I have viewed on TV as well as acquiring the DVD. The films is advertised is the Final Cut to mark its 40th anniversary and of the score of folk at Bolden I reckon I was the only one of an age to have attended the original screening release. I had expected a sharper picture given the boast of a restoration but it was far from HD quality.

The Wicker Man has become classic for two reasons. The traditional reason for why it has become a cult stems from portrayal of a heathen culture in which children are given and involved with the facts of life openly and frankly, participating in May day ceremonies dancing around the phallic Maypole or skipping naked over a flame to symbolise regeneration. There are flashing images of adult public couplings in the dark, a mother with her child at a breast in the former churchyard and rear view of a naked Brit Elkland’s body double pounding at a door invited the film’s, fundamentalist Christian hero police Sergeant played by Edward Woodward.

Christopher Lee plays the Lord of the Summer Isle in charge of the adult debauchery and the education and cultural system which abounds on his Scottish island community famed for his fresh fruit, apple trees, in particular, and vegetables, created from hard strains in this Gulf Stream paradise.

The original film was censored whereas to day and over this week there has been vivid sexual couplings on main stream TV albeit as part fo a scientific tested and observed experiments to understand the physiology of he subject and just as vivid public couplings between drunk 20 to 30 years olds in and around a swimming pool in the middle of the afternoon for which the participants paid under £10 for three hours of free drinking while watched in a mixture of wonder and curiosity by the parents and their children who had booked into the Bulgarian resort Hotel believing it was family centred in town noted for its buildings and culture as declared by its straight faced mayor who suggested the intrepid young female reporter was exaggerating and being insulting despite the documented visual evidence This perhaps explains why this branded as a horror film’s late night showing was so poorly attend by those who clamour for gory horror at weekends in CGI 3D and other forms of explicitness.

The less publicised aspect of the film is that it shows how an entire community of sane closely knit human beings covering all generations can unite to undertake the horrific murder of another human being in order to appease and please their form of deities, in this instance of the sea with barrels of beer before the God of the harvest.

Edward Woodward as the hero is trapped, lured to the island with the accusation of a missing school child because he represents incorruptible officialdom, a devout Christian of the Kirk who while engaged does not agree with sex before marriage and who says his prayers at night before going to bed and sleep. Everything appears to be done to stop him meeting his destiny, refusing to allow him on the Island without permission, insisting there is no such child and then pretending she has died, been skinned with remains someone where, and then to exist as some prisoner to be sacrifice in the hope of changing the island’s fortune after the crops failed, as the strain failed from growing in an unnatural clime.

Christopher admits from the outset that the religion of the islands is hocus pocus to get the whole community working for the general good and later that when the sacrifice does now work, he will be expected to volunteer himself as the next victim. He also placates his victim by offering the rare experience at the time of Christian Martyrdom, although history tells us otherwise and the victim understandably terrified at the prospect of being burnt alive with a host of animals finds the strength to accept his fate in the knowledge of his faith.