Film notes

Megamind 3/5 Quite fun
Clash of the Titans (remake) 3/5 OK
The Red Riding Trilogy 5/5 Stunning. Re-read ‘From Hell’ at the same time as watching through these – my head has been in a very dark place!
Gone Baby Gone 5/5 One of the best crime dramas I have ever seen, principally because of the exploration of moral character. Well done Ben Affleck.
Ghostbusters 3/5 – mainly watched again to entertain the kids (successfully)
Inkheart – 3/5 hmmmm
Collapse – 4/5 much better than expected, especially as a film

Five Favourite Bond Films

I love Bond films. I have the complete remastered DVD collection. Doubtless in ten years time I’ll splash out on the blu-ray version (or whatever has replaced them by then). My earliest memory of a Bond film is watching Goldfinger when I was about six or seven, and arguing with my parents about the correct way to pronounce ‘Sean’. Strangely, though I think Connery is pretty much the best Bond, none of his films are in my top five….

5. Licence to Kill – an underrated gem, with Dalton being believably vicious. It seems like every new Bond promises to ‘go back to basics’ and bring some needed edge to the role, in other words, they show how far Roger Moore completely dominated perceptions.

4. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – clearest memory of this is watching it on a very small black and white TV when on holiday in Dittisham – and for a long time I thought the film had been shot in black and white! Good for all sorts of reasons.

3. Goldeneye – Bond had been missed, and he definitely came back with a bang. The tank chase is one of the best chases in all the films, a great opening sequence, Sean Bean as a rogue OO, and Famke Janssen…

2. The Spy Who Loved Me – first Bond that I saw at the cinema; Jaws; the Lotus; the tanker that swallowed up submarines – established a template for me in that the Bonds before this are, for me, ‘old’ ones; after this I kept up to date. Which brings me to

1. Casino Royale – Daniel Craig, utterly fantastic and plausible; tremendous action sequences, a humanised Bond shown changing into “Bond”. A simply cracking film.

Let the arguments begin!!

Chelmsford Diocesan policy on the Ordinariate

Clergy in the Chelmsford Diocese have received an Ad Clerum from Bishop Stephen relating to the Ordinariate, which seems to me to be graciously robust. Key points:

– +Stephen is seeking ‘clarity and generosity’
– those entering the ordinariate are leaving the Church of England, therefore clergy need to formally resign
– parsonage houses will not be transferred
– “we will… move quickly to make new appointments” to the relevant parishes
– +Stephen is open to shared use of church buildings, but not on Sunday mornings as this will “not serve the need for clarity”
– those parishes that have been withholding their parish share have been acting dishonourably, and +Stephen asks for the withheld moneys to be paid back – “Without this it will be all the harder to have the generous conversations we hope for”.

Good stuff.

Five Favourite Horror Films

5. Saw

In my teens – when I tended to read horror novels rather than watch horror films – I was very struck by a Stephen King short story (might have been a Richard Bachmann one) about a man left on a desert island who literally started to eat himself in order to survive. The question of how far a person is prepared to go in order to survive is one that I find very interesting (have to discuss that with my therapist!) and this film is the definitive exploration of the theme. The sequels are dreck, the ‘influenced’ films – like Hostel – are even worse.

4. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

One of the earliest horror films I saw, at a very impressionable age (I’d guess 15 or so). The central conceit is excellent – Don’t fall asleep! – and there are plenty of genuinely scary moments, but the reason why it abides in my mind is the ending, when Nancy turns her back on Freddie, thereby denuding him of power. Profoundly true…

3. An American Werewolf in London

This was the first horror film I can recall watching – at about age 12 (yes, much too young) – and it gave me all sorts of nightmares for ages. Yet, as with that scab that you can’t help picking at, I have returned to this film periodically over time in order to slowly overcome that dread. It contains one of the scariest sequences I’ve ever seen (the repeated dream) and it’s also very funny.

2. Land of the Dead

This was the first Romero I ever watched, and sparked an interest in the zombie genre which is ongoing (I loved The Walking Dead – I’ll have to read the comic). Again, it is the conceptual weight which makes the movie – the vision of rich people in a gated community, holding back the eager hordes whilst they seek to preserve an illusory existence. Prophetic stuff.

1. The Exorcist

Well what else would it be? Despite some of the OTT schlock, a profoundly orthodox work which treats the material seriously. What the devil seeks is for us to see people as ugly, and that is the direction to which all his temptations tend. The faith wins a victory when it sees as Christ sees – and that is what despatches the devil to his den.

Of course, these are subject to change over time, and an old one – like The Shining – might squeeze in. Let the Right One in will probably get in there before long (haven’t rewatched it yet).