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MOSTLY FILM: Shortly Oscars

It's always a good idea to lure readers in with gratuitous nudity, so here's some from animation nominee Me And My Moulton. (Best not to think about how old the figure in the foreground is, though. They're Scandinavian, it's a different culture.)It's Oscar weekend! Excited yet? Well, yeah, I know what you mean. But Europe's Best Website isn't going to turn down the chance to cover an event so squarely within our remit. So Mostly Film is pulling a rare weekend shift to prepare you for the biggest event in the movie calendar, and then guide you through it on the night if you don't have access to the live TV coverage.

Right now on the site is the preparation bit of the package, as Indy Datta and I look at the short film nominees in Shortly Oscars. Indy reviews the live action shorts, while I cover the animated ones - and to be honest, it sounds like I got the better part of the deal. Then come back again on Sunday night for Mostly Film's live coverage, where our crack team of insomniacs will bring you all the frocks and gongs as they happen. (Here's what that looked like last year.)

As usual with my contributions to Mostly Film, I've got some bonus backup material here for you - and keeping it simple (because it's far too early on a Saturday morning for anything more complex), here are trailers for all the short film nominees. Just trailers, I'm afraid. I remember the days when you could watch all the nominees themselves for free on the interweb, but they started killing that off as an idea two years ago. Anyway, these playlists should give you enough data to make an uninformed call on what should win.

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MOSTLY FILM: It Continues To Only Happen In The Movies?

Bolt From The BlueThere's a lot of Japanese stuff in my Work In Progress folder at the moment. You may have noticed. In fact, I had ambitious plans for all my various Mostly Film and Rising Monkey posts to merge together in some sort of crazed synergy this week, which could have come off if I didn't have lots of real work to do as well.

So, pick the bones out of this lot. This week on Mostly Film, there's a new Monoglot Movie Club piece by me entitled All In The Game, based on the films we saw during our visit to Japan last Christmas. The backup material for that was intended to be part three of the Rising Monkey journal of that holiday. This plan has been somewhat scuppered by my not having actually finished part two yet. I should have both parts of that piece completed some time this month, hopefully. In the meantime, can you take this as a reminder to go look at All In The Game? I reckon I've managed to sneak more oblique references to the C word past the editors than any other writer for Europe's Best Website, and this contains yet another one.

Meanwhile, last week on Mostly Film, I reviewed six of the thirteen films in the Japan Foundation's touring film programme It Only Happens In The Movies? I didn't review the other seven at the time because I hadn't seen them yet. But I've seen them now, as the London run of the tour has just finished at the ICA. So...

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Simian Substitute Site For February 2015: Arashiyama Monkey Park

Arashiyama Monkey ParkMONTH END PROCESSING FOR JANUARY 2015

Movies: For over a decade now - since Lagaan, to be precise - I've been fascinated by how different Aamir Khan is from Bollywood's other movie idols. He's a rarity in that he acknowledges there's a world outside: not so much pandering to a Western audience, more pushing things beyond what an Indian audience would expect. That's definitely the case with his new film P.K., which recently became India's highest ever grossing movie. Part of this may have been down to the publicity campaign, which kept things close to its chest for as long as it could. The first trailer, in particular, presents P.K. as a bumbling Mr Bean type character, without ever revealing the reason why that is. The film, meanwhile, tells you why in the first scene - he's an alien stranded on earth. Inevitably, this quickly becomes a story of human foibles being observed by an outsider: but it takes longer to reveal that the main foible that he'll be looking at is religion. This is ballsy stuff for an Indian movie star to cover, and he's taken some stick from Hindus who feel especially picked on. Domestic audiences have ignored the begrudgers and gone to see it in droves, and have been rewarded with a unique mix of daft comedy, sharp social comment, and - of course - a few song and dance numbers. Bollywood finally has its own Life Of Brian, and it's quite a thing to see.

Music: Okay, let's get this out of the way. Back in December, I gave you the track listing of my Pick Of The Year CD for 2014, Everywhere Is Monsters. I also announced a competition to win a copy, and gave you a multiple choice question to answer. Which of the following artists - Half Man Half Biscuit, Trey Parker or Pet Shop Boys - has been responsible for the highest number of my compilation titles so far? Now, you may have noticed that I didn't tell you what would happen if nobody got the right answer. That's because there's no wrong answer, a deliberate move to potentially open up the competition to people other than Dave. Tricksy, I know, but this didn't go unnoticed...

Interesting one - from what I can make out, it's a trick question, and they have 3 each?
HMHB - 1991, 19972001
TP - 1998, 19992011
PSB - 198620122013

...so congratulations to Dave for an absolutely perfect answer. Can the rest of you lot at least try next year? Promise?

Theatre: I recently wrote a couple of pieces - one for Mostly Film, one for here - about my adventures in Jakarta. Here's one adventure I didn't write about at the time: my struggle with the wi-fi at the Grand Indonesia shopping mall, trying to deal with it timing out every ten minutes while I was in the online booking queue for Daniel Kitson's latest theatre show. Kitson's theatrical pieces have, up until now, been monologues: either simply recited on stage, or split between multiple tape decks when he felt like a change. In the two pieces I've seen so far, a pair of stories has been gradually had their link revealed: and to a certain degree, the same is true of his latest one, Tree. The big difference here is that it's a play for two people, each of whom gets to tell their story to the other. Tim Key plays a man who's turned up an hour early for a picnic date: Kitson plays the long-term inhabitant of the tree under which the picnic is due to take place. While Key waits for his date to arrive, the pair engage in conversation, and things are gradually revealed. It doesn't have the huge emotional impact of Kitson's earlier plays, but it's got all the humour and observation you'd expect from them. After a busy month-long run in January, the play's coming back to the Old Vic for one more week starting February 16th: find a decent network to connect to and book now.

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