Hail Fear

Short list magazine, week beginning 1/5/17 has a piece about fear in entertainment.shortlist

‘Hail Fear, by Alex Christian, Chris Mandle and Chris Sayer.  They speak to authors who have released books where the theme is based on fear.

Charlie Higson, his book – The Enemy.  In the interview, he speaks of his early influences, and questions himself about the content of his current work, and whether he should ramp up the fear factor in his narrative, or perhaps hold back.

Nick Yarris, his book – The Kindness Approach.  Nick Yarris spent twenty-two years on death row for a rape and murder he was wrongly convicted of.  In his interview, he speaks of not being afraid of dying at the time, but being afraid of his final worlds not being eloquent.

Luke Delaney, his book – The Rule of Fear.  Luke is a former murder squad detective, turn best-selling author.  In his interview, he talks of the unpleasantness of meeting serial killers in real life, and how they are misrepresented in the entertainment field, which often shows serial killers as having a certain charm.

This I thought was a really good edition of Shortlist with a few articles on fear in entertainment, with an interview with Michael Fassbender ahead of the release of Alien:Covenant which he stars in.  Lots of interesting articles, and ideas one’s own work of fiction.  Worth trying to get hold of a copy I think.



An artistic documentary of  Barbara Windsor’s career and life, shown on BBC1 on Sunday.  Some of the reviews I have seen say people found the story  hard to follow,babs while others could not make up their minds whether it was good or bad.  Well, in my humble opinion, I thought it was pretty good.  I was hooked, it was a refreshing new take on looking back at someone’s career, in a creative and imaginative way.  It is nice to see that film makers and producers are thinking outside of the box, and trying to give the audience something a little different.

It is a shame that this show being slammed by many on social media.  Just because something is different, it does not mean that it is not good.  I thought it was a great piece of work, and it is well worth the watch.

Thank you Dame Barbara Windsor for sharing your story.

The Fate of the Furious

ff8It’s the Fast and the Furious 8, surely, well that is what my cinema ticket has printed on it.  No matter, I went to see this today, knowing pretty much what to expect, car chases that defy all logic (and physics) impossible fight scenes and the odd explosionukff8 here and there, and the film did not disappoint.  In fact it was really good.  It was really good, it had everything, the unnecessary one liners, plus a roller coaster of emotions; the characters displayed humour, actual laugh out loud humour (spell check is desperately trying to change my spelling of humour to humor, I will not allow it to) vulnerability, defiance and loyalty.  It is action packed, it has the odd surprise (well  I was surprised) and I am glad that the surprises were revealed to me as I watched the film in the cinema,  rather than learn of it from a spoiler online.  If if you liked any of the first seven Fast and Furious movies, I am convinced you will really enjoy this one.

Not forgetting (before 8)ff5edit (2)



Dreamgirls, at the Savoy theater, London.  The directions to get there tells me the theater is a three-minute walk away from Covent Garden station, however, it does not tell me three minutes in which direction.  (Well, that could just be my inability to follow directions effectively)  So, I am wondering around, having to navigate my way around large groups of people, and it makes me wonder, why people go out to a bar for a drink, buy their drinks, then take their drinks outside the venue to stand on the pavement, in such large numbers, that they block the entire pathway, and to get past you have to walk in the road, or ‘excuse me’ your way through the gathering, reminiscent to a flock of birds hankering around an old lady on a park bench treating them to water-soaked bread.  Anyway I digress.

dreamgirl poster

Dreamgirls.  I finally get to the Savoy theater, and I have a seat in the stalls which is a pretty decent view.  The theater is buzzing with noise as people chatter among themselves, several around me discuss the film version of Dreamgirls staring Beyonce who played Deena Jones, and Jennifer Hudson who played Effie White.  Now if you have seen the film, and you liked it, you will absolutely love the theater performance, I’m convinced of it.  I actually enjoyed the live performance more than the film. On stage was Amber Riley as Effie White, Liisi Lafontaine as Deena Jones and Ibinabo Jack as Lorrell.  These women all gave great vocal performances on the night, but Amber Riley has an amazingly powerful voice, amazing.  Her performance earned standing ovations, and deservedly so, amazing, I mean, if I even attempted to sing like that, I would have to lie down for a week in recovery. (I truly cannot sing well by the way)

 If you like loud and engaging performances, with bright beautiful costumes, lots of costume changes, singing and dancing, sad moments and humor in one show, non-stop entertainment from beginning to then you should try to fit Dreamgirls into your schedule, I mean the opening number was amazing, the audience were clapping and cheering five minutes in.

It is a shame that such a great show is loosely based on real events in the industry around the The Supremes, and the tragic story of Florence Ballard.  It makes me wonder, how Florence_Ballard_(1965)many great artists have had their dreams stolen from them, because some manager or agent does not consider that they have the right look, even though their talent might be phenomenal.

I do not believe that the audience is as shallow as some agents or managers are. If someone has a great voice, and will produce a great song, we will buy their music regardless surely.  Anyway, Dreamgirls is an amazing show, and I do actually want to see this show again. Brilliant.



Moonlight – Now, I watch the BBC film review with Mark Kermode at any opportunity I can get, and I very rarely see him get emotional over any film he reviews, so, when I watched him talk so passionately about Moonlight on Friday night, it made up my mind that this was the film I had to watch this Saturday.

It is a coming of age film, the story of a young boy called Chiron, who grows up having to deal with a drug addict mother, being bullied by his peers, and with his own identity.  His simple life is complicated, an emotional roller coaster with one moment of happiness that he can share with nobody.   it is a great, thought-provoking story, which made me wonder, how many people do I pass everyday, who are living a life which just is not them, putting forward a persona of a person that they just do not want to be, but knowing the alternative, to show the world who they really are would probably ruin them.  Great film, with some great performances, Naomie Harris was really good, and though most of the trailers for this film show scenes with her and Mahershala Ali, for me, the performances by Sharrif Earp and Trevnate Rhodes (who plays Chiron as a teenager, then an adult) are truly outstanding, for moments, you forget you are watching a film, and it is more like real life playing out before your eyes.

There are many spoilers on-line practically giving the whole plot of the film away, but if you intend to watch this, I would suggest avoiding all of the spoilers, just head to the cinema and watch the film.  Some things are best enjoyed with no preconceptions, or with your old preconceptions in mind so that you can enjoy the moment when the film utterly and truly shatters them.

I have seen the advert for this film for a few weeks now, but today is the first time that I actually saw the poster for what it is, truly a image of coming of age – absolutely brilliant.


lolita1The 1962 film adaptation of Lolita aired recently on channel TCM.  It was promoted as a comedy, but aside from what I found to be a mildly amusing beginning which tells the beginning of the end of the story (yes I did mean to say that) there is not much humor at all; which is not necessarily a bad thing.  The screen play for this adaptation was written by Vladimir Nabokov, who is the author of the brilliant novel Lolita.  The story is of Professor Humbert Humbert, who becomes inappropriately obsessed with Delores, the twelve-year-old daughter of his landlady whom he marries, the scenario does not end well for his wife.   In my opinion, the 1962 film adaptation did not fully show the true villain that Humbert really is, or what an absolute victim Delores (who Humbert nicknames Lolita) eventually becomes.   The 1997 Lolita film (staring Jeremy Irons and Melalolita-with-jeremy-irons-011nie Griffith) is a much more accurate adaptation of the novel, showing truly how toxic Humbert is, and how mixed up Delores becomes, and this is definitely the better film out of the two.  But as is true for so many adaptations, nothing beats reading the actual novel.  Humbert, the protagonist and the not to be trusted narrator who tries to lure the reader into seeing him as the victim despite his hideous intentions.  Lolita is a great novel, a great lesson in literature, and well worth reading, if you get the chance.

Ethel and Ernest

e-and-eEthel and Ernest, the story of Raymond Briggs’ parents.  (Author of The Snowman and Father Christmas)  Ethel and Ernest was first a graphic novel, before it was made into an animated film.  It tells the story of Raymond’s parents from how they met, and how they lived through the depression, and world war II, and how they coped with changes like the introduction of television, electric mild carts, and even the telephone.  It is a heartwarming story, it has humor and sadness, and is completely engaging.  Truly brilliant in my opinion and well worth watching.  It is currently available on the BBC i player.  Thank you Mr Briggs for sharing your story with us.