Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Thoughts ...

David Hockney's "Arrival of Spring" from the new Royal Academy exhibition.

The award season is now underway - here in the UK the Golden Globes do not mean much to us, and were hilariously awful on that E! Entertainment channel last week, broken up every few minutes as they were with commercials for the Kardashian show, even breaking into Christopher Plummer's speech. I just had enough and zoomed through the rest of it. Elton's face was priceless when Madonna graciously (or did she?) accept her gong for best song ... for one of the movies (THE IRON LADY and THE ARTIST being the others) that Harvey Weinstein is behind this year.

Well the reviews are now in here for W.E. and make amusing reading - (I quite like Madonna's music though - that mid period "Ray of Light" and "Music" with those interesting videos and re-mixes) - but looking at clips from Clint's J. EDGAR my only question is: WHY? Why on earth bother making a dull movie about this dull man and his era, no movie could tell the real story, and they spend so much time under rubber trying to look old (hopefully not as hilariously as Bette Midler and James Caan in FOR THE BOYS!). It is of course my loss but Eastwood's films just do not interest me, I give his movies a miss, amazing he is still making them in his 80s. He bags Judi Dench here as Hoover's mother - a rather thankless role like her Dame Sybil in MY WEEKEND WITH MARILYN. It all seems reminescent of Scorsese's THE AVIATOR where Leonardo had a go at capturing Howard Hughes. Will it really be Sinatra next ? - but surely Frank and his life and work is too well known to impersonate - and again how could it be the real story? But in an era of impersonations winning awards - it seems Meryl as Mrs T has a lock on the best actress this year, despite Michelle Williams as Marilyn - and then there is THE HELP. So the Oscar nominations should be interesting, and the BAFTA nominations are also in, with all the usual suspects. [I don't think it will be Meryl after all now, the film isn't good enough and her Mrs T is like a "Spitting Image" cartoon; liberals will hate it for glorifying Thatcher, while her devotees will hate it for presenting her as an old lady with dementia...]
More than the Oscar-bait movie J EDGAR though it is Ralph Fiennes' CORIOLANUS that seems the real film, a very cinematic version of one of Shakesepare's lesser known plays, interestingly set in a modern Balkans background with Fiennes, Gerard Butler and by all accounts a stunning performance by Vanessa Redgrave (Vanessa label) as his mother - but it seems to have been ignored by the nominators .. what gives? In the meantime new dvds of THE SKIN I LIVE IN, THE GUARD and THE TREE OF LIFE have arrived, with DRIVE and TINKER TAILOR... arriving this week - more on those soon then.

Watching Jeremy Irons being interviewed this morning and discussing MARGIN CALL it is now one I am very keen to see when it opens here - another terrific cast including Irons, Spacey and Zachery Quinto (also one of the producers) on the current financial meltdown;

While the new David Hockey exhibition has got glowing reviews, though as Philip Hensher says it ignores that great body of work of the last 40 years to focus on his English paintings since he moved back here 7 years ago - but it is time to celebrate these new paintings and iPad works. Another popular art show for London then. There are over 150 pictures - "the Yorkshire artist combines formidable draughtsmanship with an invigorating colour palette to capture and transmit a pleasure in sylvan landscapes rarely seen since the impressionist era", as "The Sunday Times" puts it. Like the sell-out Leonardo exhibition day tickets are released each morning. Hockney now is firmly a national treasure after his decades in California, France and other countries as he explored his various forays into painting and photography. California was where the sun was warmer and the boys sexier. "England doesn't have many vivid blue swimming pools for white-rumped Adonises to jump into ... and the colour schemes Hockney favours, England simply isn't Hockney-coloured", but now Hockney "painting Bridlington in the rain" makes those essentially British landscapes his own; as a display of energy by an artist who is almost 75 this is some statement". And also this:
"The energy, radiance and manifest love with which Hockney depicts the landscape of his native Yorkshire are magical, and his huge oil paintings and smaller watercolours beautifully capture both joy in nature and the changing seasons, and a poignant sense of life's transience. I emerged from the Royal Academy convinced I had seen the work of a modern master enjoying a spectacular blaze of autumnal creativity, and spent the rest of the day feeling both ridiculously happy and unaccountably blessed. That is the consolation of great art".

Music-wise Lana Del Ray is currently wowing us, I love that track "Video Games"; the late Amy Winehouse's "A Song For You" is a stunning version of that Leon Russell song I loved and which Donny Hathaway made his own - until now. I like Maroon 5 and their jumpy infectious music, like Franz Ferdinand or The Killers, and "Moves Like Jagger" has been the song of the season, great video too!

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