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October 2006
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December 2006

Casino Royale: Homebrew Edition

Bollocks! Bollocks! Bollocks! Bollocks! Bollocks! Again!The story so far. Late one night last month, I was thinking about the music from Casino Royale. Not the good Casino Royale that's in cinemas right now, of course, but the terrible Casino Royale that was made by six different directors back in 1967. (Recently, during an excellent Sunday lunch at Seapea's, it turned out that most of the people round the table had attempted to watch the 1967 version when it had been shown on ITV that weekend, and all of them had given up on it after 15 minutes or so. But I digress.) It's generally agreed that one of the few good things about that film is Burt Bacharach's fabulously jaunty score, featuring Herb Alpert and his golden trumpet. And I got to wondering: what would happen if you put the 1967 film's music against the 2006 film's trailer?

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Faust. Note that this is the only publicity still I could find, and it bears no resemblance to anything I saw on the night.I know it's appallingly bad form to quote yourself, but I'm quite pleased with this one, so indulge me here. Half a dozen of us were eating in the River Spice restaurant before heading off to see Faust, and we were working out what we knew about the production beforehand. We knew it was a collaboration between the National Theatre and Punchdrunk Productions, the latter being a company specialising in site-specific theatre. We knew we'd been asked to go to a mysterious address in London's less-than-glittering East End for the show. We also knew that we'd be expected to walk around the location, and were free to explore it at our leisure. And we were struggling to decide how the hell that would work, until it hit me: "it's going to be an art installation with a plot, isn't it?"

And that's pretty much what Punchdrunk's Faust is. Except for, perhaps, the plot.

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REPOST: Wild Japan

Originally posted on The Unpleasant Lair Of Spank The Monkey 15/03/2005. A follow-up season, Wild Japan: Outlaw Masters of Japanese Film, opens at the National Film Theatre in London on November 3rd 2006, and tours the UK afterwards.

As Japanese genre cinema picks up a new lease of life on the video racks of our nation, here's a useful touring festival of cult classics from the sixties and seventies. It visited various arthouses in the UK and Ireland between February and April 2005: this is what I thought of the films I saw when it hit London.

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Simian Substitute Site for November 2006: Cheeta, The World's Oldest Chimpanzee

Cheeta (well, some of his paintings, anyway) Yeah, I know, it's late, sue me you buggers. As you've probably noticed, I'm currently trying to balance the demands of a day job with the challenge of keeping the London Film Festival diary up to date: and the day job's going to have to take precedence sometimes. Getting this entry, or any other entry, up on the web for November 1st was always going to be difficult. Aside from that, it required some tricksy time management to come up with a way of watching two films in one day, and still spend roughly five hours in total travelling to and from a work assignment. Watch out for the LFF diary for November 1st to see how I pulled that off.

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