Four weeks from today, we’ll all be sitting around a roaring fire wearing silly hats and eating inordinate amounts of turkey. It will also definitely be snowing outside. That’s right Christmas is a month from now and though we’re sticking to our strict Christmas no-songs-until-the-first rule (Tuesday is so close now) we are getting more than a little excited in the office. Here’s what we’ve been distracting ourselves with this week:
What’s Been Keeping us Busy?
While Mikaela has been busy rounding up groups for our upcoming Screen Archive project in collaboration with Film London and the London Film Archive, Chris been trawling through the film archives from the borough’s of Bromley and Merton to see what footage would be best suited to our series of film making workshops and community screenings that are starting in the new year. It’s been fascinating looking at some of the footage and we have some great ideas bubbling away on what we can do with the footage to not only showcase the beautiful archive material, but to inspire a new generation of film makers.
Mikaela has also been busy putting the finishing touches on our Festival 800 film for Cultural Solutions UK. The film encapsulates all of the events that happened over the 10 day festival celebrating the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta. Mikaela’s been busy adding some graphics that showcase amazing artists and the impact the festival has had.
Dave popped over to Vale Academy in Brigg this week to mentor their sixth form students in editing their final digital media projects. He sat down with individual groups to look over the music videos they’d produced, gave feedback and offered support to help them achieve those A grades they’re striving for. What a top guy.
Alongside nurturing the filmmakers of the future, Dave’s also been busy updating the website for our sister company Blueprint: Film Foundation. Nothing too snazzy, it’s not had a drastic overhaul, but he’s made some some structural changes and spruced up the content ready for the new year!
What We’ve Watched
The Tales of Hoffmann
I’m a big fan of the legendary British directing duo Powell and Pressburger, so I was excited to finally see this, particularly on the big screen. However, it wasn’t a film for me. It’s basically a cinematic production of an opera and whilst I found it visually spectacular (if a bit gaudy), I couldn’t get into the opera itself. The vocals are so shrill, particularly given the age of the recording, that I struggled to make out the lyrics, meaning I was often lost as to what was happening. Due to this and the fairly lengthy running time, I got rather bored, so the awe of the spectacle wore off after a while. Moira Shearer’s dance sequences were pretty amazing though.
I’ll probably get my film reviewer credentials shredded for saying this, but I much preferred watching American Ninja than The Tales of Hoffmann. Yes, it’s Golan and Globus’ Canon Films doing their usual cheesy bandwagon jumping shtick, but my God is it a lot of fun. Packed with crazy ninja action (including one that shoots lazers!) and enjoyably dated and daft scenes of comedy and ‘drama’ in between, I thoroughly enjoyed the film from start to finish. A lot of these trashy action titles promise much but are overloaded with filler, whereas this manages to remain fun throughout.
Over at Blueprint: Review:
The Reflecting Skin: A beautiful looking film with an interesting and fairly unique story is ruined by terrible performances and shoddy dialogue.
Closely Observed Trains: This Czech New Wave classic is smart, quietly subversive and hugely entertaining.
Unbranded: Four men ride wild mustangs (the horses not the cars) from Mexico to Canada in this beautifully shot documentary.