Saturday, October 24, 2009



Saturday 24 October 2009

Dream: I actually go up to Nottingham. It is unlike how I remember; in this version it actually resembles Colchester in some parts. I am visiting one set of friends while the other set are having a party and a better time. In the end my set of friends join in with the party much to my reluctance.

Things feel pathetic this morning. Last night was bad and yesterday wasn’t good.

I stagger around Asda at 8.30AM when I don’t really need to. This is routine.

My cold feels like it is kicking in today.

Eventually I get moving and leave home around 10.45AM with view to getting an 11AM train. Today is my third day of London Film Festival action and I am really hoping to have a great day such as last Saturday.

In the end I get the 11.03AM train and after too many swigs of Beachams flu mixture I feel drowsy. Wake up!

I get to London just before midday, which is too early. On the tube over to Tottenham Court Road I see a Bella lookalike, which only serves to make me slouch further. When I exit I head straight to Fopp and look at a few things but fail to build the urge to actually buy anything.

By the time I get to Leicester Square I am feeling clammy. Now I am convinced the flu has got the better of me. After a quick trip to the bathroom I take my seat inside the cinema only to be confronted by some blobby woman eating Haagen-Dazs and her insistence of refusing to stand up and get out of my way. I force an apology out of her but its not genuine. As I stumble over he feet and legs I wonder just why she wouldn’t get up for me. Everyone else did. Is she infirm? She fucking looked it.

Today’s first movie is The Informant! This is the new Steven Soderbergh film starring Matt Damon as a corporate grass from the early nineties. It is a crazy, jumbled movie with a swirling mess of story attached that is supposedly based on real people and real events.

The look of the film really does not tie in with the nineties, more it looks like the seventies not least when the captions and lettering resemble a font and style straight out of Austin Powers. Also as the excellent Marvin Hamlisch score kicks in during moments of dark slapstick proceedings begin to resemble an early Woody Allen farce.

As the movie unravels Damon’s character continues to display new depths of character flaws as he digs a deeper and deeper hole for himself. The supporting cast is pretty impressive as Scott Bakula from Quantum Leap plays the lead FBI agent, Tom Wilson from Back To The Future (Biff) plays one of Damon’s unscrupulous work colleagues and towards the end a number of skilled comedians rock small roles (Patton Oswalt, Scott Adsit from 30 Rock, Tony Hale from Arrested Development and Paul F Tompkins from Mr Show).

When the movie comes to a conclusion I struggle to decide whether the movie was a mess akin to the one Damon’s character finds himself in as it becomes difficult to tell if he really was such a buffoon after. It’s a bipolar movie.

Afterwards I emerge onto Leicester Square pretty satisfied that I just saw an entertaining movie even if it were a flawed one. From here I head down Craven Street and cross the bridge across the Thames towards the Southbank. Even under the gloomy, rain threatening skies London looks fantastic from this perch today.

With time to kill I linger around the Southbank for a while people watching. At one of the rip off kiosks I buy a Lipton lemon tea which tastes as good as it sounds. The things I do to pretend to be healthy.



Taking my time I head into the NFT and take my seat. A few minutes before the movie begins an amazing looking lady sits in front of me. She looks very out of place at such a movie. This only serves to distract me.

Just before the movie Beeswax begins one of the organisers of the festival does an introduction before bringing out the director Andrew Bujalski. This is pretty cool as it wasn’t announced as being part of the showing.

Bujalski is the guy that made Funny Ha Ha, which is regarded to be the first Mumblecore movie. In a way he looks like a young George Lucas. He says that he will be doing a Q&A after the film and suddenly the screening is an extra treat.

Beeswax is a tough movie. I have to concede to not enjoying it as much as either Funny Ha Ha or Mutual Appreciation but then again there must be something wrong with me today as I fail to clock that the main characters of the piece are twins.

Its all very slow and grimy, this is where the slacker generation has taken us it would appear. As the sister in the wheelchair runs a weird thrift shop (a charity shop without the charity) her other sibling agonises over whether to stay or go. Faced with this environment the option seems obvious as all feels suffocating in this place but her options do not feel sensible or overly considered.

As ever with a Mumblecore movie it is all about the natural dialogue. It all feels vaguely scripted as “uh” and “duh” penetrate most conversations held within. Ultimately the movie proves to be hard work.

Afterwards the Q&A with Bujalski is muted and laboured. I don’t think the guy is in the same league as the generation of indie filmmakers and directors that I grew up on. His approach still sounds primarily amateur and fixated on his art, when he talks of future projects he does not appear to be assertively pursuing anything major instead settling to plod on. Then again it doesn’t sound like this movie has much in the way of distribution yet so there is still a lot of work left on this little number. It is good to put a face behind the name but not as exciting as I would have hoped it to be.

I emerge from the NFT to the news that Millwall have beaten Leeds 2-1 this afternoon and all feels amazing. This has been another great day spent in London.

As I walk from the Southbank to Waterloo station the scene is an amazing one. This is fast becoming my favourite place in London.

I end up heading home at a decent hour with a Saturday evening still at my disposal. Unfortunately the world is not quite my oyster and in my world there isn’t necessarily much to do on a Saturday night.

Thankfully tonight BBC2 is screaming the first episode of the new series of The Thick Of It and this is something to get very excited about. With Chris Langham being “otherwise disposed” Rebecca Front now takes place as the focal politician having to wade through all the shit that has been tossed towards her. The episode focuses on her first day and how the rats on the sinking ship that is the Labour party are backbiting and brownnosing in order to save their jobs. Thank god for Malcolm Tucker who comes through and cuts through all the nonsense. He does however immediately give her an awful ultimatum that affects her family which is without seriously harsh but at the end of the day it’s all about the spin and public perception. This is television at its best.

Eventually the day catches up with me and I fall asleep. These times.

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