Author Topic: Ken writing in The Times  (Read 10809 times)

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Offline Iain Fisher

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Re: Ken writing in The Times
« Reply #23 on: June 03, 2008, 11:46:26 AM »
Ken has started writing for the Tuesday issue of The Times rather than Thursday's issue. I have taken the opportunity to open a new thread.  But comments on this one are still welcome.

Offline Iain Fisher

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Here is the news: it’s 1937 and looking lovely
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2008, 06:23:11 PM »
Ken in The Times 29 May 2008

He covers newsreels, the short news features that cinemas used to show betweek the B and A film.  And film festivals in Newcastle.

"... one of the most famous news cinemas in the North – the Bijou NewsReel cinema, which opened in 1937 on Pilgrim Street in Newcastle – became a news item.... Designed by Dixon Scott, the great-uncle of the film directors Ridley and Tony Scott, it was a real dream palace, the last word in Art Deco chic.

...And those wonderful Ministry of Information shorts such as How to Use Your Gas Mask, How to Boil an Egg, How to Deal With an Incendiary Bomb and the five-minute thriller Miss Grant Goes to the Door, where two ladies foil a German parachutist who lands in the garden. "

The cinema has been restored and will now "be providing more than 40 film, digital and animation courses a year to 6,000 adults and schoolchildren. It will host two new international film festivals: Northern Lights and AV, the latter specifically for electronic arts and digital experimentation.

So, for all wannabe film-makers, and I include myself, it’s next stop Newcastle. And for those historians among us who miss their newsreels, we can tour the exhibits for free and even feel the familiar flap, click and whirr of starting an old projector. Or, better yet, see the famous newsreel The Hindenburg Disaster (1937), playing every morning at 10 until July 3 in this splendid pleasure palace"

Details of the cinema are here www.tynecine.org


Offline Iain Fisher

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Those who can, Cannes. And those who can’t . . .
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2008, 03:40:07 PM »
Ken writes "I am probably the only film-maker in England today. “And how can that be?” you ask incredulously. Well, you need look no farther than these pages. Everyone even remotely connected to the movie business is at the Cannes Film Festival, all enjoying a sun-drenched freebie."

This is from The Times, 22 May 2008.  Ken goes on to write about Billion Dollar Brain and Aria and finally The Fall of the Louse of Usher

"...the last time I strolled along the Croisette, the circumstances were completely different. A small distributor was handling the release of my low-budget production Fall of the Louse of Usher, a portmanteau of updated Tales of Mystery & Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe. No posh hotels such as the Majestic or Carlton, but a small bed-and-breakfast with bunk beds, full of Japanese tourists, in a suburb a long bus ride out of town. But at least the company also flew out my wife and daughter. No party on a yacht, just drinks with a bunch of freeloaders in a pokey office with a windswept balcony, where my wife was mistaken for Frances McDormand. The action was “hi”, “bye” and a silent “why?”. And drama, when the receptionist had her purse stolen by a partygoer in a daring grab-and-run.
Seven years on, you might wonder if there were profits. Yes, there were. And as soon as I’ve finished paying off the expenses for that week spent at the B&B and the entertainment on the balcony, I will be eligible for royalty payments. Don’t talk to me about Cannes!"

Iain

Offline Iain Fisher

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Revenge is a dish best eaten until we're sick
« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2008, 12:29:45 AM »
In The Times today (well yesterday now, 15 May 2008) Ken writes about Revenge movies.

He praises Jodie Foster in The Brave One "a very satisfying finale... has you rooting for this cute little killer from start to finish".

Ken then calls his The Devils a revenge film (I can't see this) and talks of Warner Bros still refusing to release it on DVD.  Other films he picks up on include Seraphim Falls, and Hammer's Revenge of Frankenstein and Revenge of the Zombies.

He also says Revenge of the Elephant Man will be on DVD soon.

Iain

Offline Iain Fisher

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I was Billy Elliott until I became a space cadet
« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2008, 01:35:19 AM »
Ken writing in The Times on 10 Apr 2008 (sorry, I am catching up here).

Mainly autobiographical this article mentions Ken as a child playing with a boy who later became famous as a British comedian, Benny Hill.

Ken writes of his five years at the International Ballet School "under the tutelage of Maestro Nicholas Sergeyev, late regisseur generale of the Imperial Maryinsky Ballet".  This lead to a job in Annie Get Your Gun which folded after three weeks.

Iain

Offline Iain Fisher

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You say she's a dreamer
« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2008, 03:27:03 AM »
In The Times today, 8 May 2008, Ken writes about the Pan Gaea festival
www.pangeaday.org
described as "Pangea Day is a global event bringing the world together through film... In a world where people are often divided by borders, difference, and conflict, it's easy to lose sight of what we all have in common. Pangea Day seeks to overcome that – to help people see themselves in others – through the power of film...Starting at 18:00 GMT on May 10, 2008, locations in Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro will be linked for a live program of powerful films, live music, and visionary speakers. The entire program will be broadcast – in seven languages – to millions of people worldwide through the internet, television, and mobile phones...The 24 short films to be featured have been selected from an international competition that generated more than 2,500 submissions from over one hundred countries".

Ken singles out Jehane Noujaim- you can see her Control Room on youtube.   He also praises D.A. Pennebacker including his documentary on Dylan Don't Look Know.  Incidentally the new DVD of the film, with an second DVD of goodies, is really good and well worth buying (well, if you like Dylan).

Iain


Offline Iain Fisher

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on Anthony Minghella
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2008, 07:12:18 PM »
As well as his regular column, on 20 Mar 2008 Ken Russell was one of the people paying tribute to the film director Anthony Minghella.

Ken's tribute is quite personal "I grew up on Minghella's dad's ice-cream in Rhyde, Isle of Wight"  And some good insights "His films were romantic in a very English sense and that's why he appealed to the Hollywood studios- stiff upper lip, elegant sex".

Ken ends, "He's welcome (as in Truly, Madly, Deeply) to come and watch videos in my living room anytime".

A good tribute from one director to another.

Iain

Offline Iain Fisher

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Re: Ken writing in The Times
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2008, 06:50:58 PM »
Land of the Blind is available for streaming on Youtube in eleven 10 minute parts. It's a straight to video film in every aspect but a bit more original than the current big budget blockbusters. Though its theme can be interpreted as anti-American, it's still an American movie: that means it's not enough clever for me – too simple and calculable. Acting is average, sometimes quite bad. Some of the imagery is very "russellish", so I understand why the maestro found it interesting. It could have been a much better film if it were English and had been shot by Ken...

I just finished watching it on Youtube.  A strange film, lots of potential, especially given the actors Donald Sutherland, Ralph Fiennes and Tom Hollander.  But the story, of a political prisoner who comes to power and then proves as bad as the dictator he replaces, is done in a predictable way.  I kept recognising scenes done better in other films, from 1984 to Kiss of the Spider Woman.  Not a bad film to watch once, especially if it is on Youtube for free, but not a film I would really want to watch again.

I did like the idea of the new left wing/communist government announcing the from tomorrow the traffic lights would change and green would be stop and red go, as red was the colour of progress.

Thanks again for the Youtube tip.

Iain

Offline Iain Fisher

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Orson Welles
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2008, 11:33:43 PM »
I've always thought that Welles was a much better actor than director. He is purely brilliant even in small but important roles (like in the nowdays little known, though very effective and moving Stuart Rosenberg-drama, Voyage Of The Damned). Citizane Kane has never succeded to win me over. I accept that from a technical point of view it's a groundbreaking effort, but the story is too simple and boring. I've found his obscure adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello a lot more interesting in every aspect. It's a film I can truly recommend to everyone who loves "uneven" movies.

I really like Citizen Kane.  As you say it is technically groundbreaking, but I also found it profound and moving, with lots of scenes I remember.  And a good political undertone with the isolation of Kane reflecting the neutrality of America before it entered the war.

I have problems with Othello, both the Welles version and the Olivier version, namely white people "blacked up".  It now seems so unreal that I have difficulty seeing beyond that.  I don't have Welles version but I will try and watch it again, see if I change my mind.  Welles was of course superb as an actor in The Third Man, and he demonstrates his power in Peter Brook's King Lear, but for every Catch-22 there is also a Muppet Film.  He must have despaired at the stuff he had to accept.

As a director I really like Kane, Chimes at Midnight, The Trial, Macbeth (with its faults) and F for Fake.  Things like Ambersons and Touch of Evil I keep alternating between "love it" and "pretentious".

Iain

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Re: Ken writing in The Times
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2008, 09:06:11 AM »
Ken writes that another of his hospital dvds was GROUNDHOG DAY with Bill Murray.

Offline Iain Fisher

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in hospital and The Kingdom
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2008, 12:59:22 AM »
Ken writing in The Times 13 Mar 2008 reveals he has just had an operation for a new knee.  He has had a bad time recently, but still comes through.  Typical Ken.

He went into the hospital with a number of DVDs.  The best, IMHO, is the original The Kingdom by Lars von Tier.  As Ken says it is 10 hours (a mini series) set around a Danish hospital where "the ghosts mingle with bewildered patients and eccentric doctors".

Iain


Offline BoyScoutKevin

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Re: Orson Welles
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2008, 11:23:37 PM »
In The Times of 6 Mar 2008 Ken writes about "The genius who started at the top and worked down"- Orson Welles.

There is a new film about Welles, Fade to Black about which Ken says "go and see Fade to Black, made for peanuts and a lot of love".  Made for peanuts must appeal to Ken.  Ken talks of Citizen Kane "his one and only masterpiece"- a harsh judgemet but maybe correct.  I love lots of Welles films, and they show genius, but also fall short.  His Macbeth is an example, at times so good but other times worthy but missing something.  And it is sad to see Welles acting in really bad films.

Iain


That almost sounds like saying that "The Devils" is Ken's one and only masterpiece. "Citizen Kane" may be Welles' best film, but it is hardly the only good film he ever made (IMHO.)

Offline spasmo

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Re: Ken writing in The Times
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2008, 10:01:43 AM »
I've always thought that Welles was a much better actor than director. He is purely brilliant even in small but important roles (like in the nowdays little known, though very effective and moving Stuart Rosenberg-drama, Voyage Of The Damned). Citizane Kane has never succeded to win me over. I accept that from a technical point of view it's a groundbreaking effort, but the story is too simple and boring. I've found his obscure adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello a lot more interesting in every aspect. It's a film I can truly recommend to everyone who loves "uneven" movies.

Offline Iain Fisher

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Orson Welles
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2008, 01:48:55 AM »
In The Times of 6 Mar 2008 Ken writes about "The genius who started at the top and worked down"- Orson Welles.

There is a new film about Welles, Fade to Black about which Ken says "go and see Fade to Black, made for peanuts and a lot of love".  Made for peanuts must appeal to Ken.  Ken talks of Citizen Kane "his one and only masterpiece"- a harsh judgemet but maybe correct.  I love lots of Welles films, and they show genius, but also fall short.  His Macbeth is an example, at times so good but other times worthy but missing something.  And it is sad to see Welles acting in really bad films.

Iain

Offline Iain Fisher

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Re: Ken writing in The Times
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2008, 09:07:31 PM »
Nothing by Ken in The Times this week.

Iain