Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Estate agents are only selling 2.5 properties a month. Oh, I'm crying, I'm crying. And they've had it so tough the last, eh, 20 years. May Satan burn you all in Hell (with extreme prejudice), you greedy illegitimate sons of swine!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pure Goldman

I was lucky enough to catch tonight's South Bank Show interview with William Goldman, writer of 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid', 'The Princess Bride', and many more. Since reading his expose of Hollywood, 'Adventures in the Screen Trade', many years ago, I've had a great deal of respect for the man. Still do. Nothing new came out of the interview, but it's good to see him still so vital. While discussing his adaptation of 'Misery', he said something that I've been saying for years, namely that Stephen King is greatly undervalued simply because he is so successful. People forget that whatever you may think of his stories or style, he is a great storyteller. The same is also obviously true of Goldman. I hope my scriptwriting class were watching (a lot I mentioned such as Ernest Lehman's 'North by Northwest' came up, and the dastardly Robert McKee made an appearance, basking in a true scriptwriter's reflected glory no doubt), but I'd be overly optimistic to believe that they were.
Coincidentally I saw 'State of Play' today. Coincidentally, I say, because it was obviously influenced by another of Goldman's early successes, 'All the President's Men'. Influenced it might have been, but sadly it was only a distant echo of that earlier masterpiece.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Canal Bank Walk

Sometimes - not often - it's all worth it

I was feeling a little self-pitying after work and, not caring to eat, I put on my walking shoes and headed out. Passing by Christchurch I just had to wonder once more at the supreme folly of the Pepperpots. What idiot could ever have thought that covering the Cathedral facade was a good idea (not to mention demolishing the Viking Wall)? Well, my bad feelings were soothed somewhat once I got to the Grand Canal. You haven't lived until you've walked along its bank on a sunny evening with an old Morricone score playing in your ears! (One of those lesser known Italian ones from the 70s; I could practically feel my sideburns growing.) Some Soler followed to ease things along. Nice.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Let the Right One In

Probably the best vampire flick this year - Let the Right One In
Probably the best vampire flick this year - Let the Right One In

A young, bullied boy befriends his new neighbour, but she isn't the little girl of 12 she first appears. Sleeping all through the day, smelling 'funny' and looking just a little anaemic, you just know she's a wee bit different. And then there's her stand-offish 'father' who goes out at night with a funnel, an empty bottle and a very big knife. Something's rotten in Denmark, well, Sweden actually, but it makes 'Let the Right One In' a welcome addition to the vampire genre.
You can't watch this movie without thinking that this is what 'Twilight' aspired to be. I have no real right to say that as I haven't seen the Hollywood movie (and have no wish to), but I know damn well Hollywood could never make anything so dark, or poignant, as this Scandinavian horror. While centring its story on two children, it never holds back on any of the unpleasant implications of its tale. (The only comparable Hollywood offering I can think of is Bob Balaban's cannibal comedy, "Parents", and that was a small indie movie unfairly passed over by most.) Many have commented on the film's scariness, but after the initial queasiness induced by the first killing, I found it less of a 'she's behind you'-type shocker and more of a rich, haunting drama. Dark and poignant it certainly is, but it's also funny, scary, disturbing, nostalgic, touching and a whole lot of other things a vampire movie has no real right being. Guillermo Del Toro, of "Pan's Labyrinth" fame, and no stranger to vampire flicks himself (think "Cronos" and "Blade II") has called it a dark fairytale and that probably comes closest to the whole enterprise. Using vampires in a way 'Spirit of the Beehive' used Frankenstein's Monster, it conveys an authentic childhood experience through the most fantastical of ingredients.
Blonde Oskar and dark Eli make a winning couple. Eli may be the vampire, but for all his sunny brightness, you are always conscious of a troubled darkness at Oskar's heart too. Their loneliness and awkwardness is heartbreakingly familiar and wonderfully conveyed. You will not forget little Eli's haunted (and occasionally computer-enhanced) eyes in a hurry, nor Oskar's sweet innocence, and this has as much to do with the wonderful performances of the two young leads (Kåre Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson) as the story itself. Peripheral characters are no less affecting, with a peculiarly sad end for one hospitalised victim. Even Eli's homicidal guardian earns some sympathy.
The setting also helps, with a dark and snowy Stockholm showing beautiful or grim by turns. Resisting the urge to splash all that whiteness with vivid crimson (a technique "30 Days of Night" gloried in), the frozen urban environment is disturbingly tranquil, while still believably lived-in. A perfect place for the supernatural to erupt in and still feel natural.
For me, there is a little dip in intensity with the final pool scene (just a little too vulgar and 'crowd-pleasing' after what's gone before), but overall this is a powerful cinematic experience. When it ended I left the cinema and entered streets of bright sunshine. It was warm in the busy city, but there were cool chills still running through me. And it wasn't the memory of all that snow. Let this one in.

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Hell, He is Elvis!

Ah, man! Bruce Campbell will not play Elvis Presley in 'Bubba Nosferatu: Curse of the She-Vampires'. What's the point?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Coke appropriates Prokofiev. That is the final straw. I hope someone dies horribly, painfully and while drinking that shite stuff to answer for such a crime.