Bits & Bobs: Separate viewing

On The Road (2012)
This movie simply makes me want to read Kerouac's book. In fact I feel embarrassed to not have read it by now. I totally get the aesthetic of the road, the appeal of being on the move and stopping in places just long enough to get a sparkly moment of something right there and then. There is no better feeling than being in a van for example, and knowing that there will be hours and days of sitting in the car ahead. It's relaxing – a kind of holiday for the mind. A mini space vacation. It changes your constitution fast. On The Road is of course a film about so much more than that; a film about the times and a story of a cosmic change in how young people could behave. Importantly, it depicts young white men. Women have only a side role here ("a honey cunt" or the needy wife). Sam Riley makes a cute Kerouac while Garrett Hedlund annoys me. Kristen Steward was surprisingly great and very beautiful.

Sam Riley in On The Road
My Week With Marilyn (2011)
Michelle Williams has become one of my favourite actors of my own generation. She is not afraid to delve into her roles and she is very beautiful in a way that seems entirely natural. Her hair is to die for in the Louis Vuitton adds. I watched My Week With Marilyn for her and for Marilyn. It was a pretty uneventful and unsexy film. Still, it sparked my fascination with Marilyn after a long pause. I adored Joyce Carol Oates' book Blonde some years ago, so might give the movie adaptation a chance next time I'm in the mood for Marilyn. It is the contradictions we find so fascinating in the representations of Marilyn. I loved the moment in My Week... where she asks her new friend " shall I give them Marilyn?". She is a show that can be turned on and off, she is a separate being from the private woman with her dark shadows and her untimely death.

Marilyn Monroe

Wyatt Earp (1994)
Kevin Costner's in-between Western – first came Dances With Wolves then later Open Range. It's decent and nothing more, overlong and incredibly sentimental at times, but it has its moments. Costner is good value but the picture is stolen by a surprisingly good turn from Dennis Quaid as Doc Holliday. Other characters simply don't exist, Lawrence Kasdan delivers mass blandness (the look for christ's sake!) along similar lines to his previous Western attempt, Silverado.

Quaid in Wyatt Earp
Last Man Standing (1996)
Bruce Willis has tons of fun in walter Hill's extremely violent and cold remake of Kurosowa's Yojimbo (with an even bigger nod to Leone's Fistful Of Dollars). Willis is perfectly cast (in a dry run for his turn in Sin City) and is joined by a good Christopher Walken and excellent Bruce Dern. William Sanderson brings a hint of his future in Deadwood. Classy all round.

Last Man Standing

Man Of Steel (2013)
Zack Snyder is determined to get this comic book stuff right, despite mixed results with Watchmen and 300. Produced by Christopher Nolan, Man Of Steel is pretty good all told. A re-working of the origins story (told in flashback) adds something. Great support from Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Russell Crowe (Superman's Krypton dad) and Kevin Costner, this time as Superman's earth dad. This has some great scenes, hopefully Henry Cavil develops a bit more for the next installment. Well below the first two Christopher Reeve man of steel – this has potential to be great.

Cavil & Adams
Mad Max (1979)
From a time when Mel Gibson was almost cool (check the hair), the first Mad Max still thrills and looks fantastic. What keeps this relevant is the edge on display. Yes, there are some dated scenes and seriously cheesy dialogue. A lot may offend, but this is raw revenge stuff with some serious B-Movie shapes thrown together with a whiff of ambition and bigger ideals. Mad Max still carries enough of a whiff of Tom Of Finland to add extra campy value.

Gibson in Mad Max


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