Well, it has been a while since I have posted anything on this blog (okay, I have already posted a couple of things, but that was because I finally had some time to sit down and go over one of the old posts I had sitting there waiting to be published and have finally gotten around to finishing a second one that was partially written while sitting on a plane between Singapore and Frankfurt), but now that I have returned to Australia and have some more free time (namely because I have discovered that when I am travelling the last thing that I really want to do is write blog posts because they can actually be pretty time consuming) to actually go back to publishing stuff on my blog, and what better way to start it off again than to publish a review of a play that I saw in London. Actually, when I’m in London I tend to make a habit of seeing as many plays as possible, though I have to be honest that the whole ‘West-End experience’ is starting to get a bit dry. In a way, it seems that the plays, and musicals, that appear in the major theatres in Theatreland are pretty much the mainstream, but then again having seen Wicked and Les Miserables three times already I’m not in a huge rush to go and see it again.
Back in 1995 I was invited by some friends to go and watch a cinematic production of Richard III at a small art-house theatre in one of Adelaide’s Eastern Suburbs. I had heard of Richard III (the King that is, but then again most of us who have watched Black Adder, or even paid attention to a particular carpark in England, have probably heard of the guy), however I had never actually seen the play. Being Shakespeare I had no problems going, however I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect.
Honestly, I not even all that sure as to why I’m writing a blog post on this movie – it isn’t as if it was any good. Okay, it is one of those movies that is trying to make a point and forcing people to think about the house of cards that the modern financial world has become, however, I personally don’t think that it succeeds – at all. The thing is that Money Monster is what you would call a ‘Hostage Taker’ movie – some guy bursts into a room and takes everybody hostage, and through the movie the hostages and the hostage-taker begin to develop a close relationship.
Classic Stockholm syndrome stuff.
It took me a while to get around to watching this series, though I must admit that my TV watching habits have been pretty sparse of late (probably because there are a lot of other things that I would prefer to do than sit down and stare at the idiot box after I get home from work). Okay, I am watching TV as I write this, but it happens to be a football match and my team is getting absolutely smashed so I doubt I will be watching for much longer (though for some reason, whenever we are watching a sporting match a part of us seems to have this belief, however misguided, that our team will do something extraordinary and pull the mother of all comebacks).
Director: Sophie Coppola
Starring: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson
Release: 29 August 2003
IMDB Rating: 7.7
Rotten Tomatoes User Rating: 85%
If you are reading this post and have not seen the movie then I recommend that you stop reading now and go and see it. There are two reasons – first of all, you probably won’t understand what I am writing about if you haven’t seen the movies, and that this post will contain an awful lot of spoilers. As with my other posts on movies, this is not a review, namely because I prefer to go much deeper into movies than simply looking at them in a superficial way as you would in a review. Anyway, I’ve already written a review of the film on IMBD (and there are plenty of reviews of the film there anyway).
Normally I don’t go and see all that many, if any, contemporary plays (namely plays that have been written during my life-time), and after seeing Hangmen I realised why – they tend to be quite boring. Okay, I probably shouldn’t bag this particular play too much, however, despite it being English black comedy (which tends to be really good), the play itself didn’t hold my interest all that much. The main reason that I went and saw it (and it was one of the National Theatre Live productions by the way) was that it was advertised at another film/play that I saw recently (As You Like It) and it looked quite interesting (and it also gave me an excuse to get out of the house for a while, since I tend to travel all the way to Brighton to see these film/plays).
One day I was perusing the internet to see what Shakespeare plays were available on DVD. It probably had something to do with having seen a particularly good version of a play at the cinema as a part of the National Theatre Live productions, and I wanted to see if some of them were available for purchase (unfortunately, at this stage, this doesn’t seem to be the case). However my eyes fell upon a production of Richard II by the Royal Shakespeare Company, and it starred David Tennant. Most of us are probably familiar with him as Doctor Who, however, I had recently discovered that he had starred alongside Patrick Stewart (of the Star Trek and X-Men fame) in a version of Hamlet. As such, I made it a priority to get my hands on a copy of this DVD.
My original plan was to publish this post on the 23rd of April, which was the 400 year anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. However, due to slackness on my part (and also my failure to actually do any research into the exact date) that unfortunately has not happened. Anyway, it was fitting that if there is one play that I would write about for the belated 400-year commemoration post it should be King Lear since it is probably my favourite of all Shakesperian plays (at least among the tragedies).
I remember when I first read this play and I was actually rather shocked and appalled. In fact, if there are any of Shakespeare’s plays that are going to rub up against the grain of our modern society then it is certainly going to be this one – the reason being that the whole plot is about how a husband figuratively beats his wife into submission. Sure, his wife is definitely one nasty piece of work, but the thing is, living in a world where more women are killed by their husbands/partners in domestic violence situations than terrorist attacks (at least in developed countries) one wonders why such a play is still staged, and one also wonders why I actually sat down and spent three hours watching it.