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February 23rd 2010

A number of people asked me if I was going to go to the BAFTAs. I answer, not unless I am nominated or invited. Well technically I am invited, but frankly unless you’re nominated or an A list star, you tend to get literally shovelled to the back on these occasions, so if you dont want to suffer “actual bodily harm” or inflict it, or humiliation, you stay home and watch it on television. Which is what I did. And really enjoyed it. And was thrilled when “Hurt Locker” won best picture and Director.

I saw “Hurt Locker” last year when it first came out in the States and was completely bowled over by it. I believe it cost only $11 million and for that price, the quality of the directing, acting and script were first rate. Frankly, in this day and age that price is really what a film should cost and maybe more would be made if the studios made this sort of film and less “Avatar’s”. “Avatar” cost about $300 million and that’s about twenty seven “Hurt Locker’s” by my reckoning. As I have said previously, “Avatar” is a visually stunning film if seen in 3D, but the story, script and so on leave a lot to be desired and that then is waste of money.

This seems to be the view of many of the people I have spoken to who have seen it. “District 9” cost about $30 million, is a science fiction story and is a great film, well worth seeing, with all the qualities that “Avatar” lacks. It makes me angry that our industry can be so profligate and indulgent of big egos when there are so many good film makers out there who can sell popcorn if they can just have their chance. The public deserves the choice. The experience of seeing a film on a big cinema screen is still better than watching on a television set, however big.

I went to the cinema today and I’m afraid walked out. I won't name the film, but it was another big budget film that lost its way script wise. What really concerned me was the trailer of a film about to come out about children morphing into super heroes, called “Kick Ass”. In this film children are running around and using guns, being incredibly violent and using horrible language. I think it’s supposed to be a comedy, but the humour passed me by completely and either I am completely out of touch or our industry has completely and literally lost the plot, in its determination to drag people into the theatres.

On the other hand I have been watching the Oscar nominated short and foreign language films and most of them are a feast of film making at its best. And thank goodness the BAFTA nominated films in all categories reached a new high. It seems sometimes that we are in two different industries. What to do? Keep the faith and plough on!

After fighting my way through heavy traffic, people and rain, I arrived in a very bad temper to see “Jerusalem” the play with the extraordinary Mark Rylance. It’s an interesting play but his performance is amazing, he must be one of the great actors of our day. See him in whatever and whenever you can. It’s the sort of performance that makes one as an actor just go on and on, so inspiring is it. Another favourite of mine, Mackenzie Crook, he of “The Office”, is also in it and is wonderful. He is a very versatile actor and gave the best performance as Konstantin in “The Seagull” last year. He has a strange face, which many actors would have been tempted to trade on as a “weird parts” actor. Wisely he has resisted this, although he used it to great advantage in ‘The Office” and “Pirates of the Caribbean”.

Anyway that’s about it this time, dear friends. Too much going on in this time for me to think too much about the past or come up with anecdotes!

Be good - not very - have fun.
A bientot.
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